It is now officially Spring. Winter is behind us for the time being. Now it is time to celebrate Spring and all it has to offer. I love Spring. I love all the new blossoms and blooms that are beginning to peak out from below. I love all seeing all the birds and hearing them sing. And I also love all the fresh Spring vegetables that are available, just ready to be made into delicious recipes and dishes. One thing that really brings out all the fresh flavors of spring is lemon. I love cooking with lemons, limes, and lemon and lime juices. Using lemon or lime juice in recipes just makes everything come to life, as well as lightens things up. Winter is done, so we don’t need those heavier sauces at the moment. We’ll save those for when the mercury drops again. But for now, let’s lighten things up.
To mark the beginning of Spring, I made a versatile lemon vinaigrette, with lots of fresh. Right now, I want as much of that fresh lemony flavor as possible. I just can’t seem to get enough of it at the moment. Maybe it has just been a long winter and I am ready for something lighter and fresher, but it just seems to hit the spot like nothing else right now. I used basil, chives, oregano, sage and thyme to make my vinaigrette, but you can use any kind of herbs you like. I love cooking with all kinds of fresh herbs and these are some of my favorites, particularly for spring and summer.
1 TBSP each fresh basil, chives, oregano, sage and thyme, chopped fine – or herbs of your choice
1 heaping TBSP garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2-2/3 cups olive oil
dash of sugar or honey if the vinaigrette is too tart
Whisk everything together and serve. You can use it as a dressing for a salad, a marinade for chicken or fish, or as a sauce to add to pasta or rice.
When I first made the lemon vinaigrette, I used it is a marinade for chicken, to make a fresh lemon-herb chicken. I let the chicken marinade for about 2-3 hours before grilling it. The chicken was very tender, juicy and flavorful.
When I made the vinaigrette, I had enough left over for another dish and needed something quick and easy to make for dinner, since as always, particularly lately, I was pressed for time, so I used it as my sauce for a lemony shrimp pasta primavera.
Lemony shrimp pasta primavera with my roasted pepper and onion tart; a perfect beginning of Spring meal. Roasted Pepper and Onion Tart
I still have some lemon-herb vinaigrette left. It would a perfect dressing for a salad, when the weather warms up just bit more. When you make it, make a lot, because I think you are really going to like used in many different ways, just like I do.