Basil rocket dressing

There are lots of things I miss about  Sydney (and its lack of hooded youths trawling the streets sacking shops for kicks is just one of them).

Back home our flat had a balcony.  On that balcony we had cavernous steel pots filled with fresh herbs. They had varying success rates.  Wild rocket and basil thrived, coriander struggled and mint and oregano took over like a colonising force.

But there were always a few leaves about to perk up a salad or garnish a brown braise.

Here in London we have a view- we also  have the safety that comes from being up high-  but we have no herbs to pluck.

I’m frequently buying large bunches, rinsing them and wrapping in paper towel, using a few and then finding the remainder five days later tucked into the sticky recesses of the fridge.

These leaves aren’t sprightly enough to carry a dish on their own, but there’s still plenty of flavour in the sagging leaves and stems.

So they get blitzed. Sometimes they find their way into chimichurri. Sometimes into pesto. And sometimes they get transformed into a slurry of  basil and rocket with olive oil which gifts a peppery, aniseed lift to salads.

It’s something I’ve been making quite a bit lately.  It’s pretty therapeutic.

Last week it helped tie together a simple salad of peach segments, which had been roasted for 25 minutes in a medium oven. There was a handful of rocket leaves for each plate, five stems of lightly grilled asparagus and some toasted hazelnuts. On the side I had a couple of slices of baguette that had a circle of wash rind goats cheese on them. They spent four minutes under the grill until the bread crisped and the cheese oozed.

A few splodges of the rocket and basil oil were all it needed to join together and sing in tune.

Then yesterday, it was the tomatoes’ turn.

On their own they were delightful and I ate plenty on their own, like sweets.   But with some salt, pepper, and some healthy splodges of the slurry they quickly turned into a darn sexy salad.

A great salad, a wedge of cheese, some good bread, a few slices of ham and a glass of pink wine. That’s all I need.

And for the hooded thugs that are currently rampaging across my city to go home and get a good telling off from their mums.

Basil rocket dressing

Serves 1 large salad, or 4 individual portions

1 small blender

20-30 basil leaves
A small handful of rocket leaves
5 tablespoons of olive oil
Large pinch of salt
Black pepper

Here’s how we roll

1. Add half the clean rocket and basil leaves into the blender with all of the olive oil.

2. Blend vigorously. Then add the rest of the basil and rocket and blend again.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste (don’t be shy about the salt)

4. It will keep in an airtight container for a few days. 

  1. Love the colours in this salad – it looks so summery. Great little blender as well!

  2. Really gorgeous salad! My basil plant died an early death this summer, but that's what the farmer's market is for! I'm glad you are safe – London looks super crazy right now.

  3. Hi Tori, Thank you for visiting my blog. I loved the colours on your tomato salad and the dressing looks yummy. I was shocked to see the madness going on in London. I lived there for more than a year during 2008-09 and can't believe what i am seeing in the news now. Hope you are OK.

  4. Your salad is so pretty, like a little tomato rainbow. Hope you are out of harms way with the riots and all.
    *kisses* HH

  5. I love colours here. Talk about food art! Looks amazing, almost too pretty to eat!

  6. Stay safe Tori! It looks absolutely frightening what is happening in London at the moment.

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