It has been a long time since I purchased a bottle of salad dressing because of the salt and preservatives so many packaged mixtures contain. I usually dress salads with a good, basic vinaigrette.
This summer, two home-grown herbs were the inspiration for these variations on vinaigrette. One dressing is based on lemon zest (the colored part of the peel), juice, garlic and chopped basil. A second is flavored by fresh sage leaves in combination with a shallot, mustard and Sherry wine vinegar.
The Lemon and Basil Vinaigrette, for example, contains a clove of garlic, which is first processor-minced, then pulverized by drizzling in acid--such as lemon juice or vinegar--and oil while the machine is running. Garlic-based vinaigrette holds up best, since natural starch in garlic helps to keep the dressing emulsified for an hour or two. The same technique is used for the Sage and Mustard Vinaigrette, although this mixture is slightly less stable since it calls for a shallot (garlic may be substituted).
LEMON AND BASIL VINAIGRETTE
1 clove garlic
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Strip off half lemon peel with zester or vegetable peeler, allowing zest to fall into food processor fitted with metal blade. With motor running, add garlic clove and process until minced. Add basil and salt and process until basil is coarsely chopped.