Basil & Oregano Sauce

A bright and earthy combo you can spoon onto all kinds of dishes.

By Marissa Lippert

There’s a reason this sauce is a staple in my fridge and may become a mainstay in yours, as well—it works with just about everything. Fresh herbs just make this sauce pop. I love the way basil and Italian oregano come together to compliment the punchy vinegar and whole lemon.

The light texture and bright flavors of this herb sauce make it a delicious embellishment to spoon over all kinds of dishes, including chicken, roasted seafood, pasta salad, vegetables, and even grilled toast. You’ll love how quickly you can ramp up a recipe by whipping together this simple, easy, and tasty basil-and-oregano sauce.

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups fresh basil

¼ cup Italian oregano leaves

½ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Juice of 1 medium-size lemon

⅓ cup shallot or red onion, finely minced

½ Fresno chili or fresh red chili, finely minced (optional)

½ teaspoon whole lemon, including rind and pith, seeded and finely minced (optional)

Kosher salt to taste

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Makes:

⅔ cup

Keeps:

5-7 days for peak freshness

Preparation

Step 1:

Begin by mincing the Fresno pepper, shallot, oregano, and basil leaves.

Step 2:

Juice one medium-size lemon. Remove the seeds and mince the pulp, rind, and pith.

Step 3:

Take all of the minced ingredients and add them to a jar. Pour in the lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Shake it up, and it’s ready to use!

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What was the inspiration behind this recipe?

I wanted a sauce that reminded me of the fresh, vitality of summer. Where a single whiff of the herb-infused sauce could transport you to some far-off destination, like sunbathing on the cliffs of the Mediterranean coastline or walking barefoot through lush fields in Provence or Tuscany.

Can the herbs in this sauce be substituted?

That’s the beauty of the sauce—it can be as versatile as you want. Adjust the recipe for the season or herbs that are available. Any number or combination of herbs will meld well with the other ingredients in this recipe.

Does whole lemon really mean the whole lemon?

Yes! I use the entire lemon, except for the seeds. It’s a great way to make use of lemon without wasting anything. The combined rind, pith, and flesh bring a particular bitter but acidic complexity that is fantastic with the other ingredients.

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