may 19, 2021
The first tender basil leaves taste like summer. Basil finds its way into many a spring and summer meal, like with Basil Buttermilk Soup and Coconut Basil Lemonade . This Basil Caesar Dressing is one way to stretch the basil enjoyment all season long. It keeps well in the fridge for several weeks and a little dollop goes a long way. Tart with lots of lemon and salty with anchovy paste and parmesan, this salad dressing wears many hats. Dip for crisp veggies, drizzle for grilled meats and fish, baked potato topper—these are some of the many uses for a flavor packed, vivid green sauce.
Inspiration Comes From Many Sources
Recipe inspiration comes from what you have on hand and from culinary experiences. My notes from an old recipe for Texas Caesar Salad tell me it was well received. Pots of sweet Genovese basil, a worthy stand-in for the cilantro in that recipe, grace my sunny patio. Armed with my trusty immersion blender and a wealth of lemons and parmesan, this dressing came together easily. Romaine lettuce, homemade croutons brushed with olive oil and shards of shaved parmesan complete the picture.
This is the best time to plant basil, in pots as I do or in the ground if you have a sunny spot in the garden. You can always buy those little packets of fresh basil at the grocery store. However, plastic must be disposed of and long ago picked herbs tend to lose flavor. Grab a few sweet basil plants at your favorite nursery and get cooking!
Basil Caesar Dressing
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about one cup
four sprigs basil, about 3-4 inches each
one large clove garlic, zested on microplane
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or white)
½ tablespoon anchovy paste (purchase in tube)
Place all ingredients in beaker attachment of immersion/stick blender, or use smaller bowl of food processor, and blend well. No salt is needed, as ingredients are strong in flavor.
Store in refrigerator up to three weeks; stir before using. Makes a good dip, topping for baked or roasted vegetables and drizzle for grilled meats and seafood.