Although more markets are starting to carry fresh basil in their produce section, basil is an easy herb to grow in your home garden. Sow a packet of basil this year and use this versatile herb in your meat, vegetable and soup recipes.
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Add basil to your savory dishes at the end of the cooking process. Unlike herbs such as thyme or oregano, the oils in basil are volatile and evaporate quickly when exposed to excessive heat.
Preserve fresh basil for the winter months. Using a food processor chop basil finely. Form a paste by mixing in olive oil and freeze the paste in ice cube trays. Add a cube to your dishes in the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Use fresh basil in any kind of Italian dish. Slice fresh basil into thin strips and use it as a pizza topping. Make pesto sauce for pasta in your food processor by pulsing 2 cups basil, and 1/3 cup each of olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
Accent your favorite Thai recipes with fresh basil. The pungency of basil marries nicely with cilantro, another popular herb in Thai cooking.
Give herbal depth to fresh steamed vegetables with basil. Basil complements potatoes, tomatoes and beans especially well.
Top tomato slices with whole basil leaves as an appetizer. You can drizzle the slices with olive oil and shaved mozzarella cheese if you aren’t counting calories.
Infuse ½ cup of olive oil with a Tbsp. of minced fresh basil, a tsp. of minced garlic, and ¼ tsp. of ground black pepper. Use the infusion as a dipping sauce for bread instead of butter.