As summer draws to a close, most of my garden has given out on me. My tomatoes have long been gone, except an exciting new development is their seeming re-emergence. Only time will tell if the blooms with actually become fruit. Most of my herbs have fallen to the plight of hot summer days, and egg plant never really had a chance. Two things that still seem to still be kicking are my basil and my red bell peppers.
Though my red bell plants aren’t producing much, what they do produce is wonderful. And my basil? It’s practically a tree. I know time is running out for both, and in a last ditch effort to capture a little taste of summer before it’s gone for good, I decided to make a dressing.
As with anything truly delicious, I started with a base of sour cream (1/2 cup) and low-fat mayo (1 cup – and I use Duke’s).
In my blender, along with the mayo and sour cream, I added garlic powder (1 tablespoon), mustard powder (2 teaspoons) and salt and pepper to taste. I could have used fresh garlic, but the risk you run there is having someone bite down into a piece of garlic that doesn’t get completely pureed.
Basil is obviously mandatory. I used about a cup of packed, tender basil leaves. I’m truly amazed at how great my plant looks considering how infrequently I’ve watered this summer and how incredibly hot it’s been.
Adding a little lime juice (the juice of about half a lime) helps keep the flavors bright and the color too!
Milk is what makes the dressing thin enough to pour. I used about a cup and a half of fat-free milk. Any setting on your blender will eventually yield the desired results, which is a creamy light green dressing with no large chunks of basil. You could stop here, but why would you?
Did you know that it only takes a few minutes to roast a red pepper under your broiler? Yep. Just throw in on a sheet of foil, pop it on your top rack and turn it occasionally. It took less than 10 minutes to roast this beautiful red pepper. When you’re happy that your pepper is charred to your liking, you can pull it out of the oven and pop it in a sealed sandwich bag to help the skin loosen. Once it cools a bit, the skin should pull right off.
In goes the pepper, and you can see I added a little more salt. Another whirl in the blender will marry the pepper and the basil dressing into a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Now, I could have just poured the dressing over some Romaine and been done with it, but what fun is that? It’s been a little cooler here the last week, and I’ve been inclined to use my oven at every given chance, so I decided to roast my Romaine too! I used the same baking rack technique I used on my Italian BLTs. A little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt on top, and under the broiler it went, just until the edges started to crisp up.
A quick drizzle of the dressing over the warm lettuce and a sprinkling of green onions made this salad perfect. You could easily bulk this up with some diced tomato and cheese, or add some protein by adding chopped eggs.
If you try this, let me know what you think!