Distinctly Minty

They say a watched pot never boils. Well, a watched plant doesn’t grow, either. Every morning (noon, afternoon, and evening, if I can manage it), I am out inspecting the herb garden. Generally, things are growing remarkably well – new green growth, a few blue, pink and white flowers scattered around. But that darn mint only deigned to show a bit of green just above the soil a short time ago – the laggard in the garden. I keep it restricted to a large trough-like pot, so maybe it is rebelling a little over its confinement, or perhaps it caught me looking, and refused to grow.

Then, I relax my vigilance for a couple of days and suddenly the pot of mint is beginning to brim with minty freshness!

Here in Britain mint is essential in making up seasonal pitchers of Pimm’s – that fruity (lethal) alcohol-based punch mixed with sprigs of mint, slices of cucumber, strawberries, lemon and orange, and other fruity things. With the mint finally perking up in the herb garden, I can now indulge, not only in a cup of Pimm’s, but in one of my favorite summer salad dressings – distinctly packed with fresh mint.

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Mint Balsamic Dressing
A very versatile dressing!

  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup mint leaves (chopped, loosely packed) – a small handful
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Place all the ingredients in a blender.

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Process until the dressing emulsified.

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Drizzle on pan fried or grilled vegetables, cubes of feta or slices of mozzarella di bufala, or on a simple tomato or green salad. Any dressing not used right away, seal in a jar and keep refrigerated. To use again, bring back to room temperature and shake before pouring.

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25 comments

  1. I love mint too, especially in various dressings and sauces, salads and raitas. Your dressing looks tasty. I am pleasde that your mint bush has decided its time to flourish, just as mine is disappearing for winter.

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    • Don’t you wish there was an edit feature for all comments? It is strange for me to think of all of you in the Southern Hemisphere experiencing Autumn while I am eagerly looking forward to the new growing season. But, I am glad that mint finally decided to get going. It’s in a slightly shady spot since a nearby Kiwi vine grows light mad and threatens to take over with those thick and fuzzy, quick-growing, tentacle-like shoots. It shades a corner of the herb garden.

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  2. Must have been shy…this dressing looks great. I have mint in the fridge so will try over the weekend. Love a multi-use dressing. (Just not a dressing down…) 🙂

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  3. While our gardens are dying back in the south the herbs are still flourishing up north so we can buy really good fresh mint year round. We love it too, especially when it’s cool, homemade English style vinagery mint sauce on roast lamb. Love the look of that tomato salad

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    • Really a good dressing for the mint lover. I especially like it with Greek salads as a change from the oil/vinegar/sprinkles of oregano. The tomatoes were simply sliced on a bed of a few baby spinach leaves – looks nice, though, on the Sicilian plate!

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  4. Mmmmm, Pimms! And that dressing doesn’t sound too bad, either! I’ve got aubergines on the brain at the moment, may have to make it to go with some… Never used white balsamic – have you ever substituted a different vinegar, or would you recommend using it?

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    • You could try plain balsamic – similar taste. The white stuff is simply made with white grapes, but the same procedure. It has a slightly different taste (more subtle) and used here for also to enhance the green colour of the dressing. If you make it, it is really wonderful on grilled aubergines with a crumbling of feta on top. Pimm’s is good too, but will wait for a decent day to sip it outdoors!

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    • I’ve also tried this with basil – in fact, I modified it originally from a recipe using basil, but the mint just seemed a better idea with the grilled veg and cheese. Let me know what you think up – you’re always full of interesting and unusual ideas!

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  5. I love courgettes with mint. Lovely recipe. I’m having lots of trouble with my herbs at the moment, they keep getting green fly, very disappointing

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    • I’m battling slugs, but thankfully the greenfly aren’t a problem at the moment. Have you tried spraying with a garlic spray (that is, garlic crushed in water)? This seems to be one of the safe, biological methods for controlling both greenfly and whitefly. Are your herbs, by any chance, indoors? I think this is a constant problem with indoor plants.

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      • They are. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a place with any outdoors space for them, but it’s not been a problem in my previous indoor herbs in other countries. Will definitely try the garlic spray

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  6. I love mint! I’ve heard of Pimm’s but have yet to give it a taste. It seems we can’t find Pimm’s here. Strange, considering we were once a British colony. We can get it south of the border, in the U.S. and a friend of mine keeps promising me drinks with Pimm’s. Can’t wait! Your minty dressing sounds lovely.

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