By ANNA MARIE BEAUCHEMIN
Special to the Gazette
Summer is in full swing and with it comes that sweet East Bay heat. While I love cooking in the kitchen I generally take the hotter months to give my oven a break, focusing my culinary pursuits on salads, grilling, and quick stove-top meals. With the garden in peak season, I always try to utilize as many backyard goodies and fresh herbs as possible. This month’s recipe features a simple, cooling vinaigrette that highlights three of my most abundant garden herbs – parsley, basil, and mint. This flavorful dressing can be made without using any heat and is the perfect topping for grilled meats, grain-based salads, and roasted or grilled veggies.
1 small bunch fresh basil leaves (about 2-3 tablespoons)
1 small bunch fresh parsley leaves (about 2-3 tablespoons)
1 slightly smaller bunch fresh mint leaves (about 2 tablespoons)
2-3 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup vinegar (red wine or champagne)
2-3 tbl olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional Extras: dijon mustard, shallots, chives, chili pepper flakes
Collect and wash fresh herbs, shake to dry. Chop herbs into small to medium size pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Smash and mince 2-3 cloves garlic (more if desired) and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and any of the optional extras if you are choosing to use them. Add vinegar and oil and whisk ingredients together. The sauce can be served immediately or stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. While the flavors will meld together as the sauce sits, the bright color of the herbs will fade. For the most vibrant version of this sauce – serve immediately. Slather generously over your desired dish and enjoy!
Interested in learning more? Check back on the first Sunday of every month for the Hometown Herbalist column featuring local, seasonal, and regional botanical information. Save The Date! Interested in taking your herbal curiosity to the next level? Check out the Martinez Adult School fall offerings for our upcoming 4-week class geared toward home herbalism! Class begins September 24th – sign up today at https://mae-martinez-ca.schoolloop.com/
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is for educational, historical, and research purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and should not be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern please seek out a qualified health care professional, and always consult your physician before adding herbal supplements into your diet, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or on medication.
Anna Marie Beauchemin is a trained clinical herbalist and biologist. Born and raised in Martinez, California, she is passionate about sharing her craft with her community and helping people to find balance and wellness in their lives. For more information visit her website at eastbayherbals.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @eastbayherbals.