Using fresh basil has been recognized as a special treat for hundreds of years. After a winter without basil we have to restrain ourselves from adding it to everything in spring. The following 7 quick ways retain the flavour and aroma of the fresh herb exceptionally well and they rank high on my list of favourite basil uses.
Basil has a special affinity for tomatoes and garlic. This colourful traditional salad is a favourite in many a home. Layer fresh basil leaves over tomato slices and mozzarella cheese. Add crushed garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil just before serving.
With no nuts and no cheese this can hardly be called a pesto. But who cares when it tastes so good. Lazily mash 1 cup freshly chopped basil with 2 to 3 cloves garlic and 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil. Use this to top any dish that marries well with basil, especially pasta, fish and bruschetta.
Iced Basil Granita
Serve this refreshing Mediterranean-style desert whenever you want to impress your guests. Combine 1 cup chopped fresh basil with a ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup water. Freeze in ice cube trays and once frozen, gently blend in food processor or smoothie machine.
Add basil and, if you like it hot, some chilies to stir-fries, especially those that contain eggplant, cabbage, coconut milk and cashew nuts and you'll have an authentic Thai flavoured dish.
Purple Splash Vinegar
This comes out a lovely pink, and the vinegar preserves the flavour of the basil exceptionally well. We use purple splash in our marinades, salads, stir fries and home-made mustards. For the bathroom we make it with apple cider vinegar to use as a hair rinse and to add to the bath water. It restores the natural acid mantle of the skin and hair and is exceptionally good for dry, itchy skin. Infuse ½ cup fresh sweet basil and ½ cup fresh purple basil in 2 cups vinegar for 2 weeks. Strain and use.
Infuse a ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves in a cup boiled water for 5 minutes, covered. This spicy tea is also a good tonic and helpful for mental fatigue.
Infuse 1 cup chopped fresh basil in 2 cups boiled water for 15 minutes, covered. Add to your bath. Light up a few candles. Put on some relaxing music and soak in the bath for 15 minutes.
Let me know which quick use you like most.