I have a beautiful sweet basil plant that is ready to be used. Problem is that DD doesn't care for pasta and I'm anxious to use it. So aside from using it with pasta, how do you use fresh sweet basil?
Also have fresh thyme plant.
We love this salad dressing
Basil Green Goddess Dressing
Copyright 2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)**
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt ** (I skipped)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.)
*Note: I skipped the salt due to the Anchovy Paste.
I also use lots of fresh basil in homemade tomato soup when the tomato crop is ripe.
Pesto! Can be used with lots of stuff besides pasta.
Sliced tomatoes, fresh sliced mozzarella, fresh basil, salt, pepper and olive oil. YUM!
I use it mainly on Caprese salad (vine ripened tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, EVOO, and sometimes vinegar), but it's also an essential ingredient in Pizza Margarita. I sometimes make this pizza on ciabbata bread or on Italian sandwich rolls. I slice the bread lengthwise, spread with garlic butter, and then put on the slice tomatoes followed by chopped basil, Parmesan (not traditional, but I like it), and Mozzarella. Sometimes I add a little pepper, but I tend to avoid salt, since there is salt in the cheese.
Basil is used a lot in Thai cooking (you can substitute sweet basil for Thai basil), and it is great in stir fries, especially ones with chicken. I would post a recipe for Pad Thai, but that has noodles
I think I'll try Tricia's salad dressing recipe, however.
Also have another question. On a Food Network show (Everyday Italian and Rachel Ray) I've heard the chefs mention a few times about not letting the basil leaves get too hot or they turn black. Is this right? (They turn off the heat before adding the leaves.)
Are there any "don't" with fresh basil?
I recently had these at a party and I highly recommend them. The basil was an unexpected taste.
basil vodka gimlets
Gourmet : July 2007
This fragrant twist on the gimlet cocktail gets its clean green notes not from lime juice but from fresh basil. For extra glamour and aroma, tuck small sprigs of additional basil into each glass.
Makes 6 drinks.
1 cup basil lemon syrup (recipe below)
3/4 cup vodka
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup ice cubes
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs (preferably lemon basil); lemon zest strips
Stir together all ingredients in a pitcher until cold, then strain into 8- to 10-ounce glasses (such as Old Fashioned) half filled with ice.
basil lemon syrup
Gourmet : July 2007
This recipe makes enough for several batches of the vodka gimlets or lemonade; any left over would also give a nice hit of flavor to a glass of iced tea.
Makes about 5 cups.
4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch)
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
9 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain syrup thourough a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.
Cooks' note: Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 5 days.
This is great to make for those summer gatherings.
Tomato Cucumber Salad
This ones a favorite made by a local restaurant called Dinosaur BBQ. The recipe comes from their cookbook. Feeds 6
1 Â½ lb tomatoes
Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of sugar
2 medium cucumbers
Â½ large red onion
30 small fresh basil leaves
Â½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Â¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Core the tomatoes and cut lengthwise into 6-8 wedges. Cut each wedge in half crosswise. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and wake them up with a big pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and use a vegetable peeler to make long stripes in the skin. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then crosswise into Â¼ inch slices. Add to the tomatoes. Peel the onion and cut lengthwise into slivers. Dump the onions in with the tomatoes and cucumbers and give everything a good toss.
Clean and dry the basil leaves. Stack them on top of one another and roll lengthwise into a tight cigar. Cut crosswise into thin strips and stir into salad.
Throw together a batch of dressing. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over tomatoes and cucumbers. Marinate the salad at room temperature for several hours. Refrigerate any leftovers.
This came from the Oregonian Foodday section in 1989. It's a good way to use up basil and also garden squash gone wild.
Maryanne's Tian of Basil
Makes 4 servings
2 medium-small zucchini, thinly sliced
4 bunches (4 cups loosely packed) fresh basil, stemmed and coarsely chopped
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (or less) shredded kasseri, gruyere or swiss cheese
3/4 cup (or less) shredded Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup (or less) fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a shallow (about 2 inches deep) ovenproof serving dish. Place the zucchini slices over the bottom and press chopped basil leaves firmly over the zucchini (the basil will cook down the way spinach does).
Arrange the tomato slices over the basil. Then scatter the cheese evenly over the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and bake about 35 minutes, until hot through and cheeses are melted.
-- From Maryanne Caruthers, former FOODday columnist
I found this Thai Basil Chicken recipe that looks like something I would like to try.
As for don'ts with fresh basil - I would say that I generally add fresh basil to a dish at the end of cooking, as you mentioned. It seems to lose flavor during cooking, although if you have enough of it in a stir-fry, it will be okay to cook for 20-30 seconds. It's okay to heat it in pizza Margarita as well, but the fresh uncooked flavor is the best. I find that cilantro also loses some flavor with cooking (but not all). I also would not mince basil, but when I want it chopped finely, I make a chiffonade, which looks pretty also.
Blackening of basil leaves occur when the leaves are left on the plant too long in very high temperatures (like here in Texas in our 100+ degree weather) or near an open flame. You would not want to broil or grill something with fresh basil on top.
As for a good recipe, my husband and I LOVE fresh basil and tomato salad.
2 large Tomatoes (or whatever you have to equal 1.5 pounds)
1 tiny Purple Onion thinly sliced
6 large Basil leaves chiffonade
1/4 cup of crumbled Blue Cheese
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Lemon or Lime juice (we like lime)
1/4 Tsp of Salt (to taste)
1/4 Tsp of Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp of Garlic Powder
1/2 Tbsp of Oregano
Slice the tomatoes and onion to desired consistency. Chiffonade the fresh basil and put it and blue cheese crumbles on top. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then poor over top of the tomatoes. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and serve cold.
This is easy, fresh and absolutely delicious!
Enjoy - Kara
Pesto is such a great thing to have on hand. I make it when my basil is ready, put it in zip lock bags and smooth it thin, pushing out the air so I end up with a thin square of frozen pesto that I can easily break pieces from.
It's a great, quick way to dress up steamed veggies, omelets, grilled fish, oh, any number of things.
Another very nice thing to have on hand is Basil Oil. Puree the basil leaves in olive oil, simmer the mix for a few minutes and then strain the basil out of the oil through a very fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheese cloth. It makes a beautiful green oil which makes an excellent vinaigrette, dipping oil for bread or drizzle for tomatoes or other veggies.
When I make it, I use about a cup of julienne basil leaves (a full cup, but not firmly packed in) to a cup of oil. Sometimes I use extra virgin, and sometimes light olive oil, depending on the flavor I want.
This all sounds wonderful! Thank you.
This might be to pasta-ish, but I've served it several times to rave reviews. My DH, who also doesn't really like pasta nor tabouleh, loves this dish. It's from Giada DeLaurentis and the Food Network. I'm vegetarian, so I've always substituted vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and no one's complained.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-pound) box Israeli couscous (or any small pasta)
3 cups chicken stock
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh herbs, dried cranberries, and almonds. Toss to combine and serve.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved
Ina Garten has a good Tomato Basil Brown Rice salad recipe, but it got lost from my computer when it crashed, and I don't have time to type it out now. I couldn't find it in my quick search over at The Food Network website. I'll try to get that to you in a few days.
added to the garbage disposal for a nice clean scent :-)
I put the stems down the disposal and you're right, it does make a nice scent...but I'm too greedy for the leaves to put them down. :D
I'm not at home so I don't have the recipe handy but Ruthanna's Tomato-Basil Butter is fantastic. Maybe some kind soul will post it. It's great not only on fish but on, well, anything it touches. Nice melted on vegetables.
Here ya go - I haven't made it yet - but I plan to.
Posted by annie1992
Tue, Jun 17, 08 at 17:23
Disneyginger asked for this recipe, and I have it on my recipes CD here at work (yeah, at work, LOL), so here it is. Ruthanna posted it several years ago, as a topping for fish. It's so good and freezes wonderfully so I can make it when the tomatoes and basil are fresh and plentiful.
TOMATO BASIL BUTTER
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/ 2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/ 2 cup sweet butter softened
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/ 2 tsp. salt
1/ 8 tsp. pepper
1/ 4 cup minced fresh basil
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the tomatoes and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes form a puree that will mound. Let cool.
Put the butter in a mixing bowl and beat in the tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated but best served at room temperature so that it will melt quickly over the fish.
Freezes well, make a "log", wrap in waxed paper, then Ziploc bags.
My guys love a simple salad platter of sliced tomatoes sprinkled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar, salt, fresh ground black pepper and a heavy dose of chiffonade of fresh basil. YUM!!!!
:^( Our basil plants are out of sync with our tomatoes. They are bushy and trying to go to seed but only a very few of our small tomatoes have ripened. Plenty of green fruit. We keep snipping the buds off the basil - I hope it holds out long enough to make tomato basil recipes.
We made a batch of pesto sauce and another of sun dried tomato pesto from a new Joy of Cooking recipe. That would be nice as a spread on sandwiches.
You would not want to broil or grill something with fresh basil on top.
High heat alone doesn't turn them black - at least not for short cooking durations. We make pizza with fresh leaves strewn on it and they don't go black. For pizza, we usually turn the oven to 575 on the broil setting because that is as high as it will go. At that heat the pizza cooks pretty quickly - I'm not sure how long but less than 10 minutes.
When basil leaves turn black, its oxidation - bruising or cutting the leaves often starts the color change. Some sources say that it also happens with heat and acid such as cooking in a tomato sauce - I haven't noticed that when I use basil to season spaghetti sauce but possibly I've got enough other herbs and things added that I don't notice.
Cloud, I have had some success extending my basil's usable life by taking off the flowers and lightly pruning the leaves...use the snippings to make some of that basil oil to have on hand for those tomato basil recipes that contain olive oil...it really does carry that fresh basil flavor.
Vegetable and Basil Frittata
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 cups frozen or fresh mixed vegetables
pepper and salt
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese
Heat a little butter in a frypan and add onion and capsicum. Saute for 3 minutes until softened. Add vegetables, cook for 3 minutes (a little longer if using fresh vegetables). Mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper, basil, cheese and parsley together and pour over vegetables. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 8 minutes or until set. Cut into wedges and serve with a salad.
1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
90g powdered pectin
Place basil in pan, add water, bring to boil, then remove from heat and set aside (covered) for 15 minutes to steep. Strain liquid into a 2 cup glass measure. Add water to measure 1 3/4 cup if necessary. Return liquid to saucepan. Stir in pectin and lemon juice. Bring to the boil over high heat. Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for 1 minute. Pour into hot, sterile jars and seal. Try using purple basil, anise basil, cinnamon basil or lemon basil.
Basil Beer Bread
3 cups self raising flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
1 1/2 cups warm beer
Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine flour and sugar, stir in the basil, then the beer. Mix thoroughly, then pour into a well-greased loaf tin. Bake until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Slice thinly to serve. It is delicious toasted.
I like basil in scrambled eggs with cheese.
I use fresh basil in a quick tomato basil pasta sauce. You can have this sauce made by the time the water boils and the pasta cooks.
Just saute a couple of minced garlic cloves in a little olive oil. Add chopped fresh or quality canned plum tomatoes. Season with a little dried basil, hot red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and simmer while the pasta cooks. Just before serving add a handful or two of fresh basil. You can chop it with a knife or just use your fingers to tear it apart.
That is what we had for dinner on Wednesday night. I also simmered Kalamata olives in the sauce and served with grilled sausage. The basil was fresh from our garden.
Pesto on scallops was out of this world last week. Could go on chicken or pork chops too.
Like cotehele, I cut up fresh basil and cook it with my morning eggs.
My plant is blooming now -- anyone know how I can use the blossoms?
Pinch them off! Once the plant blooms, it stops putting energy into producing more yummy leaves!
You can use them as a decorative garnish or chop them up with the leaves in a pesto.
Try sprinkling basil flowers over salads or pasta, or include them in fritters, omelettes etc.
Petaloid, take rachellen's advice and pinch back. I keep mine pinched back so that it can't flower. If you do that you will have a much bigger crop of basil.
Thanks -- I'll go trim off the blooms right now!
I cooked some of the blooms with my breakfast eggs today and they gave a nice flavor, similar to the leaves.
A French recipe for Soupe au Pistou is a classic for basil, and I'm surprised no one on this thread has mentioned it. Briefly, you make a vegetable soup in plain water (yes, water) which consists of chopped onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and white beans (canned are okay) and simmer until tender. Then add some chopped tomatoes and zucchini and simmer until the zukes ae tender Then add a handful of small pasta and let it cook in the soup.
NOW FOR THE PISTOU: Combine about two cups of basil leaves with lots of garlic, some chopped tomato in a food processor and puree. Then drizzle extra virgin olive oil to make a paste. Add salt and pepper.
Put a spponful of pistou into the soup and mix it in well. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper. When you serve the soup, pass the pistou and parmesan cheese around so everyone can flavor their soup according to taste.
For a more detailed recipe, go to any French cookbook. If it doesn't have a pistou recipe, go to another one.
By the way, the pistou can be used to flavor any soup. It freezes well and can be enjoyed in the dead of winter.
That sounds good, haus proud, and it looks like a good way to use up both my tomatoes and my basil!
foodonastump, that basil vodka gimlet recipe was to die for! I made a bunch to bring to a party last weekend. I packed 16 half-filled jelly jars full in a cooler with a bag of clean ice to scoop in when serving. I also brought pre-washed garnishes in a small vase.
Because my make-and-chill-ahead method didn't allow the drink to get diluted before serving, it became a little bit "puckery" for me, so I added a cup of "Simply Lemonade" to the recipe and encouraged folks to let the ice in their jelly jars melt a bit before imbibing.
Yum. Those drinks didn't last very long and everyone wanted the recipe. What a fresh, delicious, seasonal treat!
This recipe also takes tomatoes and zucchini, but it's wonderful with fresh basil.
GRATIN OF ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip), divided
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium zucchini (about 1 ¾ pounds total), sliced on the bias about ¼ inch thick
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (or similar gratin dish) with cooking spray.
2. Place garlic, basil and thyme on your chopping board; mince well. Spread half the breadcrumbs evenly in the prepared baking dish. Strew onion over the breadcrumbs. Distribute half the diced tomato over the onion, then sprinkle with half the garlic-herb mixture. Sprinkle with vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a third of the zucchini; you want it to sauté, not stew, so don't crowd it. Sauté, turning the pieces once, until golden and not quite tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. When the slices are done, use a fork to transfer them to the gratin, overlapping the slices. Cook the remaining zucchini in two batches, each time using 2 teaspoons oil. Strew the remaining tomatoes and garlic-herb mixture over the zucchini. Season with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and a grinding of pepper. Toss the remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle over the gratin.
4. Bake the gratin until bubbly hot, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with Parmesan.
Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs:
Trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup crumbs.
Per serving: 302 calories; 15 g total fat (3 g sat, 9 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrate; 11 g protein; 7 g fiber; 532 mg sodium; 885 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (80% daily value), Vitamin A (40% dv), Potassium & Selenium (25% dv), Folate (23% dv), Magnesium (21% dv), Calcium (20% dv).
2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1/2 medium-fat protein, 2 fat
One of our favorite summer side dishes is halved cherry or grape tomatoes sauted in olive oil with basil chiffonade and salt.
haus proud, you sent me off to hunt.
I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's site.
Grilled Prawns with Pistou - but I'll sub chicken since we don't do prawns. I like that the recipe uses two whopping cups of basil, and 12 anchovy fillets (diana55 drum roll please - hope this makes a dent in your jar). The basil flavor will be complemented by the italian parsely, I think. Can't wait to try this one!
Um can someone more talented than me cut/paste. I couldn't.
Hooray! Our tomatoes are producing well now and pinching the blooms has kept our basil going. I made the gratin of zucchini and tomatoes - except with crook neck squash instead of zucchini - yummy and it reheats nicely. I used (walnut whole wheat for the bread crumbs and the nuttiness goes well. Also ann_T's quick pasta sauce, the Mediterranean salad (subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth) that Sally posted, Booberry's dinosaur tomato and cucumber salad. All very good.
I made Maryanne's tian of basil too but we felt the basil was too strong. I think I misinterpreted the instructions and measured the basil after chopping instead of before, but even the other way, I think 4 cups loosely packed is probably too much for us. I may make it again but I'll back off on the amount of basil.
Since we do like pasta, before the tomatoes came in I made pesto and sundried tomato pesto from New Joy of Cooking recipes.
Do you remember the Roasted Tomato Soup recipe that someone posted last year? My DIL asked me to make it again tonight but since we are getting overwhelmed with crookneck squash, I added some of them to roast with the vegetables. It gave the soup a mellower slightly sweat flavor.
Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe from Tyler Florence
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (mix of fresh heirlooms, cherry, vine and plum tomatoes)
(I added 1 1/2 pounds crookneck squash cut into chunks and roasted with the tomatoes, garlic and onions)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
Vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart chicken stock (I used vegetable broth)
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, optional (not optional in my book, if one didn't have basil, perhaps some thyme or oregano but I think this soup needs a bit of herb flavor)
3/4 cup heavy cream, optional (I omitted)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions
onto a baking tray. If using vine cherry tomatoes for garnish, add them as well, leaving
them whole and on the vine. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and
pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot
(set aside the roasted vine tomatoes for later). Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and
butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has
reduced by a third.
Wash and dry basil leaves, if using, and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree
the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with
remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black
pepper. Garnish in bowl with 3 or 4 roasted vine cherry tomatoes and a splash of heavy
My favorite use for basil is just to layer it over tomatoes and a few thin slices of mozzarella on a great bread. Add some olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar and you have my all time favorite sandwich.