looking for some ideas for the variety of basil I am growing this year: Sweet, purple, lime, thai, spicy globe and lettuce leaf(not he proper name, but you get the idea). I am looking for something other than pesto.....
Thai Basil Chicken is definitely "something other than pesto" and this recipe is just superb IF you can find frozen kaffir lime leaves anywhere nearby...usually a local Asian market sells them back in their frozen goods case. I've tried this recipe with shrimp, too, but the dark meat chicken is much better, I don't know why. This is a fragrant and deliciously different dish...I used 2 large jalapenos with seeds and it was plenty hot for us...
Citrusy Basil (I have always thought of it more as Lemon than Lime) as well as Spice/Cinammon or Mexican Basil were widely used in Pre-Hispanic Mexico much the same way Cilantro is used today. I particulary like it in Roasted Salsas that include Nuts or Seeds (the Mullis or simple Moles common in Aztec cuisine).... they are also nice as a prominet flavor in Green Moles or Pipian.
Antigua Hacienda de Tlalpan often serves a rustic 19th century salad of sliced tomates, avocados & fresco cheese drizzled with salsa verde and finely chopped basil (which type of basil... I am not sure, I last had it in 2001 when my palate was less discerning).
A basil hint. To keep your basil at its peak through the season you MUST keep cutting it - use it, give it away, throw it out if you have to - but keep cutting it back. Never, ever let it set flowers or go to seed. The energy that the plants put into that will diminish the flavor of the leaves that you grow the herb for.
Keep cutting your basil back and enjoying it as often as you can. It grows like a weed when properly cut back as long as it has enough water and sunshine.
Despite what some may say, you can't save the seeds for next year. The plants you would grow from that seed won't grow true to the variety of these same plants for reasons you'll have to research other places than Chowhound.
I had some in a kitchen step container pot with a variety of herbs for handy picking. The basil seeded itself. It will be interesting to see what we get. A couple of days ago I bought two I have not seen before, the variety is called Ruffles. I got green and purple. They are very fragrant.
Last summer my DH mis-took some freshly washed basil for mint, it like mint in a G&T. He made me a basil G&T. It was quite tasty.
The plain Italian Genoa Basil has the best shot at breeding true. I've got a pot of that that I just plant fresh every year on the porch and then a hedge of it in the vegetable garden that grows to about 2 feet high. I need a machete to keep that one in check. Usually give away bags of it.
Have you tried using it like lettuce on sandwiches? Great on chicken or shrimp.
I haven't tried this, but I cut it from the newspaper because it sounded "useful." It's from Patricia Wells' new cookbook.
CHICKPEA AND BASIL PUREE
MAKES 2 1/4 CUPS
* LIGHT BASIL PUREE:
* 4 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green germ removed, minced
* 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
* 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained (but reserve the liquid) and rinsed
In a food processor or blender, place the garlic, salt and basil in the bowl and process to a paste. With the machine running, slowly pour the oil through the tube and process again. Taste for seasoning. Pour out all but 1/4 cup of the basil puree into a container. (The extra basil puree can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
Add the chickpeas to the 1/4 cup basil puree in the food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, adding some of the reserved liquid if necessary. The mixture can be used as a dip for crackers or raw vegetables, or as a stuffing for squash or zucchini blossoms. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.
From "Vegetable Harvest," Patricia Wells