Dried basil or fresh parsley? which would you choose?

tomatotomataSeptember 16, 2013

I'm making a frittata tonight with tomatoes, onions, smoked sausage, cheese, and capers. Would you recommend the dried basil, or fresh parsley?

(Actually, I have other dried herbs, but I'm partial to basil.)

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Fresh parsley as primary and a pinch of dried basil in the background.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 7:09PM
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I'd definitely go for fresh nearly anything over dried. I use dried when I don't have the fresh stuff but it's the fresh herbs that give that lively flavor that makes my mouth happy.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Since you have smoked sausage and capers in the recipe, I think fresh parsley might get lost, although you could add it at the end for best flavor. I would go with dried basil, but personally, I would add ground fennel to the dish, just because I like it and it would enhance the sausage flavor. I have a huge supply of fennel seed (I overbought!), and I grind the fennel seeds in a coffee grinder. If you do not have fennel, you could add dried oregano and dried thyme (to make the Cajun trinity of dried herbs) with the dried basil.

Capers have a strong flavor, and I think dried herbs are appropriate to add in this case. I like fresh herbs too, but I reserve them for a more subtle dish. When I do use fresh herbs, I usually try to add them at the end of cooking, as cooking often destroys some of their flavor.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:56PM
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What is it about dried basil that is so off putting for me? It seems to be one of the dried herbs that is nothing like its fresh life. Has a medicinal taste. Thyme, sage, savory, all hold a good recognizable flavor. Chives seem to hold on the best. And rosemary is often better dried. (depending on its use.)

Like Annie, i need fresh. In an egg dish i find fresh does hold on really well. If not chopped too fine. I always have something fresh. And try to keep fresh herbs going in a south window and/or freeze in small amounts. I like to use the inner heart leaves of celery when in a pinch.

Fennel seed is complimentary as lars pointed out. With the fresh parsley would be my go.
I should give dried basil another chance but i don't keep it. A wall of Dean&Deluca spice tins for a house warming gift a few years ago turned me off once again. I know it is very concentrated but so odd.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 7:50AM
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I agree that dried basil is nothing like fresh and I LOVE fresh basil! I'm trying an experiment... my friend told me she takes individual fresh leaves, lays them out on paper towels, and folds them up to place in freezer bags. She says that when she wants 'fresh' basil she removes what she needs from the freezer and they're just like fresh. We'll see...

I always bring a pot of parsley indoors to grow for fresh use over the winter. This year I may try growing basil indoors too. Did you know that a soft-stem cutting of basil will root easily in water? :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:09AM
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Except for Oregano and Rosemary (which are fine dried), I always opt for fresh herbs. So Sweet Basil would be ideal here. But if fresh Parsley is what you have, use it.

And I agree with Lars in regards to the use of capers. Its strong briny taste might overpower the frittata.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:16AM
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I have fresh basil in my yard most of the year, as it lasts through the winter here, and I have some young sprouts that have just started. However, I also use dried basil, which does have a very different flavor, and so I do not consider it a substitute for fresh, but it is the flavor I want in certain dishes. Dried basil is an essential ingredient in Cajun seasoning, and fresh basil will not give the same result. I use fresh basil a lot when I make stir-fries, and it retains its flavor well in this case because the cooking time is short. Otherwise I tend to use fresh basil as a garnish or in dishes that are not cooked, such as salads or pesto.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 11:36AM
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