Friday, 8 August 2014

Favorite Basil Recipes

I always associate basil with summer.  I grew up in China but every summer my family would go back to Italy, and so I link all Italian produce like basil and cheese and san marzano tomatoes to those summers.  Back then you couldn't get anything remotely "Western" in China.  Forget basil, forget cheese, any kind of cheese.  Maybe you could get a hold of Philidelphia cream cheese if you managed to find some "gourmet" imported goods deli in the embassy area.  Even now, it's funny, it's still bad, so bad that you get these cheese delis where they have Philidelphia cream cheese there next to the parmesan.  Bless the Chinese. 

But I digress and should focus on the basil.  Shredded on a plate of bright red spaghetti, scattered on top of pizzas or pounded with parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil to make a luscious sauce -- basil has a strong role in Italian classics.  But I want you to open your mind and think about basil in another context.   Here are some more.. adventurous recipes.

Instead of chopped chives in your bold potato salad, why not try basil, like in this recipe from The Kitchin. 

In a cold soup with lemon and avocado sounds perfect for the summer.  Perhaps not in Scotland though, I think a warmer basil soup would be more apt for Scottish summers. This recipe is from Soup Addict.

From Happy Belly, here's butter bean hummus with basil and lemon.  It's so good I remember just eating it with a spoon, and then being like oh no, must take a photo and hence..this.. 
 Thai basil is often found in South East Asian cuisine, but here's a nice Asian dish with your average basil in this Chinese classic --  "Three Cup Chicken".
How good do these baked sweet potato fries with basil from Colorful Eats look.  You can really make your fries extra gourmet with this.  Or you can, instead of mayonnaise or ketchup or vinegar, have a classic pesto as a sauce for your sweet potato fries.
And it's also good in sweets.  See here I've got it with strawberries in a free-form tart.  It's a very particular flavor in desserts, just fantastic.  You can also substitute tomatoes with strawberries in your caprese salad with mozzarella and basil.
Basil's also fantastic in these lemon bars.  I love lemon and basil.

Lastly, basil's also a heavenly match for watermelon, as it can be seen with this granita recipe form Nutrition Stripped.
I hope you become more adventurous with basil.  It's my favorite herb. 

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