It was a cold and rainy day in April and the winter felt endless. My friend, Stephanie, and I were both desperate for warm, spring sunshine. We met at a French/Senegalese restaurant in Brooklyn called Cafe Rue Dix and ordered a simple salad of baby, mixed kale and avocado with basil dressing. I took my first bite and the fresh basil burst on my palette. It was as if the cold rain disappeared and my friend and I were transported to a sunny picnic in the middle of a flower field. Sometimes you need inspiration to imagine a different world and this was one of those moments. My friend instructed me to figure out how to replicate this dressing so here is my humble attempt. This one’s for you, Steph!
- 4 large basil leaves
- extra virgin olive oil
- Rinse 4 large basil leaves (or 6 to 8 small/medium leaves) lightly under cold water and pat dry.
- Using a mortal and pestle, crush the basil with 4 tablespoons of good quality, extra virgin olive oil. Do this for a few minutes, releasing the oils from the basil until the leave begins to turn brown. The oil should taste sort of spicy in the back of your mouth.
- Strain the oil using a fine mesh sieve, and pour over your favorite salad, grain and vegetable dish, or lightly cooked fish.
- Sprinkle with rock sea salt. (This will cut some of the spice.)