Mother Earth Living

A Basil Harvest: Salad with Purple and Lettuce-Leaved Basils

By Thomas DeBaggio and Susan Belsinger
August/September 1996
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Serves 6 to 8

This bright salad is simple yet delicious. Use a mixture of the choicest greens and both red and yellow tomatoes for the best flavor and most vivid color. Quantities need not be exact. Serve with thick slices of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

• 12 cups mixed lettuces and other salad greens such as spinach, chicory, endive, or frisée
• 3 cups lettuce-leaved basil leaves
• 1 cup purple basil leaves
• 1 pint basket baby pear tomatoes
• 1/4 cup basil, balsamic, or red wine ­vinegar*
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
• Freshly ground pepper

1. Wash the salad greens well and spin them dry. Tear the larger leaves into large pieces. Rinse the basil leaves and spin them dry. Wash the tomatoes and halve them lengthwise.

2. Pour the vinegar into a small bowl; stir in the salt, oil, garlic, and pepper. Adjust seasoning. Stir again before using.

3. Arrange the greens on a large serving platter. Scatter the basil leaves over the greens. Scatter the tomatoes over the salad. Dress the salad just before serving, or serve the salad and pass the vinaigrette.

* To make a quart of basil vinegar, put 2 to 3 cups clean, dry basil leaves into a canning jar, then fill the jar with a white wine or rice wine vinegar. Cover the jar tightly and let it stand in a sunny spot to steep for about a month, or until it has a pleasing taste. Strain, pour into pretty, clean bottles, and add a sprig of fresh basil.


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