Basil. Bright green, fresh, sweet and fragrant. It’s a smell that reminds me of both spring and summer; of my unruly garden; of pesto pasta with a glass of white wine. I’m not sure that I could ever pick just one fresh herb to call my favorite but I certainly gravitate toward basil quite a bit.
This vinaigrette is inspired by a restaurant that I worked at several years ago. The owners were in charge of a series of shops including a small local grocery store on the same block. There was never a concern about not having fresh produce available right when we needed it, which was was quite a luxury compared to some of the other places I worked. It allowed us to use fresh herbs daily to create inspired dressings and coulis.
The key to making this vinaigrette is blanching the basil. Basil will turn brown very quickly once it’s cut and blanching it preserves that beautiful bright green color for a vinaigrette that will elevate even the most basic salad.
Basil Peppercorn Vinaigrette
- 1 ounce fresh basil (approximately 3/4 cup when chopped finely)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium sized bowl with ice water.
- Add basil to the boiling water, making sure to push it down so that it blanches evenly. After 15 seconds, scoop out the wilted basil and add it to the ice water to halt the cooking process. Once cold, user paper towels to try to squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Place the basil, olive oil, vinegars, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into a blender and puree on high speed until smooth.
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