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The Food Processor

Herbs Reawaken Gardening Skills

August 11, 1988|JANE SALZFASS FREIMAN

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 lemon

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.

Juice lemon and add 2 tablespoons juice to processor. With motor running, drizzle in oil within 45 seconds, or until vinaigrette is thickened slightly and basil and lemon are finely chopped. Dressing may be used immediately or covered and set aside up to 6 hours. Makes 2/3 cup

SAGE AND MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

6 to 8 (2-inch) sage leaves

1 medium shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Tear sage leaves into 4 pieces and place in food processor fitted with metal blade. With motor running, add shallot, processing until minced. Add mustard, vinegar and salt.

With motor running, drizzle in oil within 45 seconds, until dressing is thoroughly mixed and sage is chopped. Dressing may be used immediately or covered and set aside up to 6 hours. Makes 1/2 cup.

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