A quickie, for the fridge

Tomato salad with basil vinaigrette 2

My tomato neighbor – the one who replaced his backyard with what could seriously be called an urban tomato farm – is at it again. He’s been working all year, really, planning and plotting, digging and watering. But unlike the Little Red Hen, he’s generous to those of us who have sat idly by, doing nothing – which means this time of year, every third day or so, a new crop of tomatoes rainbows across the windowsill on my front porch.

He doesn’t just grow regular tomatoes. He grows celebrities. At least, that’s how they sound to me. They all have names like movie stars from the 20’s: Paul Robeson and Jean Flemme (which is actually Jaune Flamme, but would make a great name nonetheless) are the current favorites. And like famous people, the tomatoes look best wearing very little.

Lately, in my house, “very little” has meant a basil vinaigrette. I’ve been making it in big batches, and storing it in a Ball jar in the fridge, giving it just the quickest of shakes before dousing anything within arm’s reach – grilled chicken, sliced mangoes, you name it.

It’s the simplest thing to make – just a dollop of mustard, a scoop of yogurt, a glug of good Champagne vinegar, and a big stream of extra virgin olive oil, whizzed in the blender along with as much basil as I can tear off the basil plant with one hand. On paper, it hardly looks like a recipe at all. But I promise, it’s just the thing. Try it on a mixed green salad, with avocado slices and crab cakes, or mixed with some freshly-boiled new potatoes. Drizzle it over a simple salad of Bibb lettuce and hazelnuts. Or pile your favorite tomatoes on a plate, sprinkle them with feta, and drown them in the vinaigrette.

When you’re done, a nice slice of baguette should help you mop up. Of course, I much prefer to just use my fingers.

basil vinaigrette

Basil-Champagne Vinaigrette (PDF)

MAKES: About 1 cup
TIME: 5 minutes

1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup Champagne wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whirl all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.



Filed under recipe, salad, vegetables

6 responses to “A quickie, for the fridge

  1. Kim Thomson

    Thanks Jess, Sounds perfect for tonight when Mary arrives with her fresh lettuce, beans and basil. We had a great time with Kathy and John, just missed you all.

  2. Mmmm. This makes me so sad that rats have eaten nearly all of my tomatoes. Thankfully, there’s always the farmer’s market.

  3. Ooh, I love the idea of yogurt in a basil dressing! I have a bottle of kefir in the fridge left over from some baking experiments, I think I’m going to follow your lead and put it in the salad dressing tomorrow! Thanks!

  4. dinnerwithjulie

    Delicious looking. Especially the mopping up of the juices with bread part! Yum.

  5. Sharon

    I love your vegetarian hot and sour soup recipe. As a novis cook, I had been afraid to attempt this dish on my own, but your recipe proved easy and delicious and I have been in soup heaven ever since. I made a version with a touch of molasses and scallions that really turned out great. Yum! and Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Meatless Monday - Quick and Easy Savory Corn Pudding | Flavorista

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