The sections below were copied with permission from Mi Ae Lipe’s Tastes from the Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook (2008).
Store unwashed basil in a plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper, but for no longer than a few days. Fresh basil will turn brown rather quickly if it is kept in the refrigerator, although this does not affect its flavor. To avoid discoloration, you can purée the basil in a blender or a food processor and top it with a protective layer of olive oil.
Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, & Foods
Cheese, chicken, duck, eggplant, eggs, fish, lamb, liver, majoram, olive oil, onions, oregano, pasta, pesto, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, rosemary, sage, salads, shellfish, soups, summer savory, sweet peppers, tomato sauce, tomatoes, veal, vegetables, vinegars, zucchini.
• Basil has a famous affinity for tomatoes and cheese; a favorite Italian summer salad combines basil, olive oil, rounds of fresh mozzarella cheese, and vine-ripened tomatoes.
• Substitute basil for parsley in meatloaf; it adds a marvelously savory, perfumed flavor.
• If you are a huge basil fan, tear off the leaves from the stems and add liberal quantities to tossed salads, just like any other green. This is especially good with fresh mint and thin shreds of fresh ginger.
• Substitute fresh basil for spinach.
• Use pesto to add flavor to a salmon loaf.
• Chop a few leaves into egg and cheese dishes to add flavor and color.
• Substitute basil for parsley in the filling for deviled eggs.
• Place a few leaves in sandwiches.
• The uses of pesto are numerous: for spreading on ham sandwiches, mixing into mashed potatoes, stirring into tomato or bean sop, dabbing on salmon, marinading meat kebabs, saucing pizza, adding to stuffed eggs, mixing with salad oil and using as a dressing.
Cook out of the Box - Dig In: Basil Pesto
Cook out of the Box Blog - Tried and True - Panzanella Salad (Or is it fatuous?)
Deviled Eggs with Salmon and Basil (makes 24 deviled egg halves)
The salmon and basil gives a delicious, unexpected twist to these deviled eggs. Make plenty, for these never last long at parties or potlucks.
1 dozen eggs
1 (15 & 1/2-ounce) can pink or red salmon, juice reserved
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or paprike, for garnish (optional)
1. Hard-boil the eggs, peel off their shells, and cut them in half length-wise. Scoop out the yolks, place them in a small bowl, and mash them lightly. Set aside the egg white halves.
2. Add the salmon and reserved juice, mayonnaise, onion, garlic, basil, and pepper to the mashed yolks. (Additional salt is usually not necessary with the salmon and its juice, but taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.) Mix thoroughly, and place heaping scoopfuls back into the egg whites.
3. Garnish with parsley or paprike, if desired. For best results, chill several hours before serving to let the flavors mingle.
Credit: Mi Ae Lipe, Featherstone Farm CSA member
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic (about 1 t. minced)
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper or to taste
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts
(Note: If you have access to Minnesota homegrown hazelnuts by all means try them in this dish.)
Whether working by hand or with a food processor, pound or chop together the basil leaves, salt, garlic and nuts until they form a thick paste. Do not over process. Add the olive oil a little at a time and mix well with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add the cheese last. (If you are going to freeze the pesto some recommend not adding the cheese until the pesto is thawed and used. I have done this both ways and either way is fine, I think.)
Credit: Cook out of the Box - Dig In: Pesto (Check out this post for more info about pestos!)
Pasta with Broccoli and Pesto
1 bunch fresh broccoli - washed and trimmed into bite size pieces
1 pound pasta
5 T. olive oil
2-3 fresh garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup basil pesto (aren't you glad that you made some pesto last summer when the basil was around?)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan for garnish - optional
Blanch the broccoli for about 4 minutes and drain. Save the cooking water. Add more water to the cooking water and cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, saute garlic in oil in a large pan. Then add and saute the broccoli a few minutes. Drain pasta (save about 1 cup of cooking water) and add it to the vegetables in the pan along with about one cup of cooking water. Stir in the pesto - correct seasoning - and serve in warmed bowls or on warm plates. (Warming dishes is a nice touch - especially in the winter)
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Winter Box #1
More Ideas for Basil
Caprese Salad - Serve whole basil leaves with sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and topped with a little salt and pepper.
Freeze - blend with olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays - save for winter to go in soups or other recipes where a taste of summer is called for.