This recipe is based on a favorite from Ina Garten but I've made a few changes over the years, basically cutting back the salt and switching out the more traditional buttermilk for plain yogurt which I am more apt to have in my refrigerator. Be sure to check out the notes for more variations!
3 scallions white and green parts chopped, about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon nice olive oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good mayonnaise (Hellman's/Best Foods)
1 cup plain yogurt (I use whole milk)
If you're using a food processor, add the scallions, basil, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the work bowl and pulse a few times to incorporate. You don't want to puree this, just blend it up a little. Add the mayonnaise and yogurt and pulse once or twice again to blend. Scrape into a jar and refrigerate.
Alternatively, you can just stir all the ingredients together in a bowl. Just be sure you've chopped the onion, basil and garlic fine enough.
I find that the flavors are best after a day's rest so if you can, make this a day ahead of serving. It lasts about a week in the refrigerator.
If you are using this as a dip, you may want to use a thicker yogurt, such as Greek-style. If you are using this as a salad dressing and you think it's too thick, thin it with a splash of milk or buttermilk. A very forgiving recipe!
If you want to use the traditional buttermilk, substitute the plain yogurt with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup of buttermilk.
If you don't have green onions, you can substitute finely chopped shallots or sweet red onion to equal 1/4 cup.
Basil is my preferred herb here but you can replace it, all or in part, with parsley. A bit of fresh tarragon is nice, too, although I add about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped tarragon to the 1/2 cup of parsley instead of doing the full 1/2 cup substitute.
Variation: Sprinkle in a bit of powdered chipotle or smoked paprika for some smokey heat!
(Images: Dana Velden)