I come from a large family of Greek and Italian lineage, so when I get the opportunity to visit the farmer's market for local produce and such I end up being more inspired to make the food I grew up eating, which was largely based on fresh vegetables, salads, and good artisan breads and cheeses with olives and olive oil. It's nothing for me to base an entire meal around olives or one simple item such as lemon - and that was part of what happened earlier. The starring ingredients were olive oil and basil. I opened a bottle of merlot as soon as I got home from the market and started to unpack my wares. While having my wine and going over the inventory of what I'd brought home, I decided to make use of the fresh basil and Ligurian extra virgin olive oil I'd picked up. I made a type of bruschetta topping that I call Red & Blue and some Greek peppers to go along with the Genoese pesto I made for the main pasta course. It never feels fully like spring to me until I've made my first seasonal batch of pesto. A loaf of day old Italian bread (I prefer it a day or so old so it develops a better crust and more dense texture) and more wine, and dinner was only a matter of assembly!
One of the best things about Red & Blue is that it is also a nice salad dressing when tossed up in a mix of your favorite greens with a good dose of your favorite vinegar. Lately I'm favoring a 10 year old balsamic condiment and a very nice sherry vinegar I got at the market. Champagne and/or red wine vinegars are the best to use for this. To use as a salad dressing, pour a bit of the oil from the Red & Blue into the salad bowl and whisk together with the vinegar. I go 3 to 1 here - say 3 tablespoons oil to one of vinegar. Throw in a few spoonfuls of the Red & Blue, and compose the salad greens and vegetables on top of it, then put the whole thing back into your refrigerator. It keeps crisp and cool, and when you're ready to plate everything up, simply toss it from the bottom of the bowl to dress your salad and you're done.( Collapse )