If this salad dressing could talk it would be shouting, SUMMER! SUMMER! SUMMER!........ If you ask me, this beautiful, green, vibrant vinaigrette is truly the "essence of summer" for the palate. It is bright, fresh, fragrant, and well, just plain heavenly! It honestly seems to enhance just about any type of salad and is delicious drizzled on grilled chicken, shrimp, fish, even roasted vegetables. In peach season, I like to grill sliced fresh peaches, stack them with layers of fresh mozzarella, garden ripe tomatoes and a drizzle of this Sweet Basil Vinaigrette - fabulous! Serve with grilled pork tenderloin or pan-seared salmon and you have a simple, but amazing, light summer dinner.
I will occasionally make this on a dark winter day if I am longing for the warm, sunny, carefree days of summer - but only if I am feeling quite indulgent as it calls for beau coups of basil! So now is the time to enjoy this wonderful dressing since basil is cheap and plentiful at many markets. If you grown your own, you know that it won't be long before your basil plants will be growing right out of their britches! For some great tips on how to effortlessly grow abundant basil and other fresh herbs all summer long check this post out!
The recipe calls for a quarter pound of fresh basil which may not sound like a lot, but believe me, when you start measuring, it's a bunch! You can definitely cut back a bit and the dressing will still be delicious. I have already made it with just one small package of store bought basil (which is less than an ounce) but if you have plenty of basil to spare, I would definitely recommend using the full amount. You won't be disappointed and your family and friends will go crazy!!
P.S. Check back tomorrow for a delicious, seasonal salad using this dressing - Steak and Sweet Corn Summer Salad.
Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
¼ lb. fresh basil leaves (about 2 1/2 cups, roughly chopped)
⅓ cup rice vinegar
¾ cup canola oil
1 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine vinegar, basil, garlic, mustard, sugar and honey in a food processor or blender. Puree mixture until smooth and bright green.
2. With motor running, slowly add the salad oil to form an emulsion.
3. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.