“What’s in this? This is interesting.”
That was my husband’s reaction when he tasted the salad tonight. It was a simple mix of baby greens (one bag for $1 at the farmers market today — just enough for one dinner) and a homemade basil vinaigrette. I skipped the cheese and ignored the croutons and just did an ultrasimple salad. And it worked, or I thought it did.
Of course, upon hearing interesting, my mind raced to all sorts of unfavorable places, as minds are wont to do. Did that mean it was simply vile? Gross? Missing some key component? Did my mix of sweet and savory with a hearty dose of basil just spell major F-A-I-L? Would I be totally screwed on my plan of blogging this dressing tonight?
I pretty much had declared a culinary disaster in my head. Words like interesting, unusual, different … they will all do that to me. They don’t exactly speak volumes about greatness. Sorry, but I would much rather be told something is amazing.
Fortunately, he went on to tell me that it was “very basil-y, which is good” and had a slight bit of sweetness (yes, it does), which was good too. The flavor is light, but brimming with the sunny freshness of basil. The vinegar and garlic complement the flavors, lending tang and a touch of bite to the dressing. For me, I could totally imagine eating a salad with this basil vinaigrette while digging my toes into warm sand at the beach. It just has summer written all over it.
Turns out, for my husband, that actually wasn’t a bad interesting — he liked it too. Can interesting be something good? I guess so. But he also had one request: next time, don’t skip the homemade croutons and a sprinkling of cheese.
I suppose that isn’t too much to ask.
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Combine the basil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until everything is mixed up and chopped into tiny bits. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture and process until emulsified.
- Use this to dress a salad immediately, or transfer to an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
More Homemade Salad Dressing Ideas:
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Mustard Vinaigrette @ Reluctant Gourmet
- Basic Vinaigrette @ Bitten
- Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette @ FitSugar
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.