creamy basil dressing

Last week, we cooked raw chicken from scratch in Oakland Public schools – over 5000 lbs of it in fact, served at 86 schools.  Oakland hasn’t cooked raw chicken for decades and to my knowledge, has never cooked chicken that was raised in California or never treated with antibiotics.  The best part?  Students loved it.  Staff loved it.  It’s on the menu again May 15th.

It’s a big accomplishment and something that’s reinforced how privileged I am to be working on projects like these.

And speaking of privilege, the thermostat has climbed over 80 in Oakland two days in a row.  Summer is shining brightly in this city.  Jen and I ate dinner last weekend at Dona Tomas in Temescal – in the red side, I never knew existed.  Pozole de pescado, guacamole, and some crispy-perfect sopes chased back with my favorite cocktail in recent memory – grapefruit juice, tequila, St. Germain, rocks, and salt.  We’ve been making these porch-side at home this week, and suffice to say that bottle of tequila is almost gone.

The other thing we’ve been eating all week is this brightly satisfying basil dressing – green goddess inspired and singing with fresh basil, lemon juice, and the salty complexity of anchovy.  We’ve been drizzling little gem lettuce, avocados, sauteed zucchini, and even sauteed fish.

Makes 2.5 cups – keeps well 1+ weeks refrigerated

Creamy Basil Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 small (or 1 large) cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, olive oil packed – roughly chopped (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice – 2-3 lemons
  • 1 cup good quality mayonnaise (Hellman’s or “Best Foods”)
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt (not Greek) or buttermilk
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine everything except the yogurt and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and stir in the yogurt.  Taste for seasoning and add a little pepper and salt if you need – the anchovies add salt, so likely you will only need a pinch or two.  Cover and chill.

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