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Portuguese Salad

For a quick lunch, Joseph Cerqueira often turns this salad into a sandwich by layering it with smoked ham and placing it between 2 slices of Portuguese bread. Since the salad dressing recipe makes more than you will need, consider drizzling the leftover amount on grilled vegetables, chicken, or fish.

For the dressing:

1 whole head garlic
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1/3 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

For the salad:

1 (12-ounce) round fresh Portuguese cheese
4 large sprigs fresh parsley
2 medium ripe tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons

To make the dressing, preheat the oven (or a toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Cut off the pointy top portion of the garlic head to expose the cloves. Drizzle the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil over the cut cloves and wrap the entire head in aluminum foil. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and golden. Let cool.

Remove the cloves from their papery skins and place in a small bowl. Add the onion, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Gradually whisk in the 1/2 cup of olive oil.

To make the salad, cut the cheese into thin slices. Place 1 sprig of parsley in the middle of 4 small plates. Arrange the cheese slices on one side of the parsley and the tomato slices on the other.

Sprinkle the salads with a pinch of salt and drizzle with some of the dressing.

Serves 4 (makes 1 cup dressing).

By Victoria Abbott Riccardi, Globe Correspondent

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