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What to do with Basil, besides pesto?

Bought a big bunch of basil today, made some pesto for a marinade, but still have a lot left. What else would be good to do with it? In salads, and?

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  1. I put it on homemade pizza.

    1. I put some into a chicken stir fry the other day. It was really tasty.

      1. Greek salad. Tomato, cucumber, red onion, black olives, lots of basil, feta cheese (optional), oil, vinegar or lemon juice, salt (optional, especially if you're using feta). We practically live on the stuff during the summer.

        You can also use it to infuse vinegar or olive oil.

        I tried making basil liqueur last year, but, well, some failures are healthy for any cook.

        1. Thick slice of heirloom tomato, a few basil leaves, a slice of good mozzarella, drizzled with good olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper. One of my favorite summer appetizer/sides.

          1. We use it in gazpacho. Also with fresh tomatoes and a simple garlic/ balsamic vinaigrette. (Lots of people add fresh mozzarella to this.) It's also great in all kinds of sandwiches/wraps/paninis and with any fresh fish. I've also used it with smoked salmon and lemon and a little sour cream. I use the basil leaves to wrap up the smoked salmon and a dab of sour cream. Very delicate and delicious.

            1. Pasta, artichoke hearts, capers, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cannellini beans, fresh BASIL, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, toss with parmesan cheese, enjoy.

              1. I put minced basil in fruit salad. Just fresh fruits, basil, mint and a pinch of cayenne.

                Of course, homemade pasta sauce- anything red-sauce Italian.

                1. Basil jelly is one of my favourite things to do with basil. I also make many compound butters to freeze, some of which use basil. As jlafler suggests making infused oils is also a great way to use it. I also make a yummy blueberry basil vinegar.

                  1. Stir fried with sugar, soy sauce, and japanese eggplants... or deep fried basil with garlic salt/pepper fried chicken :)

                    1. Don't forget basil martinis. I almost did.

                      4 Replies
                          1. re: jlafler

                            I just use a traditional martini recipe but muddle a few basil leaves and shake well, then strain. There are all kinds of basil martini recipes on line, some that are quite traditional and some that are not. But i am sure all are tasty. That's what counts.

                            1. re: mvi

                              Thanks. My husband is the martini mixer in our household, so I will pass this on to him.

                        1. i make a quick pasta dish with grape tomato(sauteed in a little olive oil & garlic) and fresh ricotta cheese & chopped sweet basil...quick and yummy

                          1. I use it in so many dishes. A pretty leaf or two as a layer in a sandwich- I loved when it was growing like weeds in the Aerogaden (waiting on a new part to re-pod I miss all my fresh herbs) - I just chop it and add at the last minute to most things, soup and of course my #1 fav fresh pasta sauce- roma tomatoes chunked, hot olive oil, chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, about 2 cups torn fresh basil, s&p - add the just cooked thin spaghetti, let it get happy in the sauce.
                            I had a thai basil chicken dish last week and was disappointed that the basil was so stringy. The taste of the dish was great, but I wanted better basil-action.

                            1. Basil oil, both as a plate garnish and drizzle. Make a bunch, freeze in ice cube trays,bag it and use and needed.

                              1. Wow. Thanks everyone. I think I will have to go buy some MORE basil.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ejpnyc

                                  do it while it's fresh, plentiful and cheap.

                                  is there anything that basil DOESN'T enhance?

                                  I'm gonna make that into a t-shirt.

                                2. i add chopped basil in my mashed potatoes along with a roasted head of garlic. yum.

                                  1. I tear it up and use it as a salad leaf. My current favorite salad involves torn basil, rocket (arugula), lettuce, broad beans, peas, red pepper and shaved pecorino.

                                    Make a vinaigrette dressing. I sometimes add chicken to it if the hub wants something a little more hearty.

                                    1. Make a simple syrup with basil, which can then be added to lemonade, cake, etc. for an interesting herbal accent.


                                      1. We put some on a blt last night. (First one of the season with the first homegrown tomato of the season. Yum.)

                                        1. - Shred it and put it on the outside of very fresh chevre, and let the chevre absorb the flavor. I do this with chevre I make myself.

                                          - More savory versions of sweet desserts, like basil ice cream. Basil madeleines could work, I think.



                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: seattledebs

                                            Our local ice cream shop does basil ice cream. It's quite green, and anise-y, and my boyfriend and best buddy just live for it each summer. I often wonder if they supplement the green with a little parsley or baking soda, or if they are just really good about preserving/extracting the green. The same shop does a lemon-basil ice that sounds good to me.

                                          2. GARLIC BREAD
                                            Puree or pesto rubbed all over a whole chicken or pork tenderloin
                                            Chopped & added to fresh top sirloin for burgers
                                            Fine chop added to bread dough prior to baking
                                            Basil oil on fish (my fav is sea scallops)

                                            1. Just this past weekend I used a bunch to make a basil puree (link in profile), which is basically pesto minus any pine nuts or cheese or anything else extra) and then used it as a dressing for some green beans along with a vinaigrette. It was very good and kind of a different way to use it.

                                              1. Thanks everyone--so many great ideas. I love the flavor of basil, so I will be eating a lot of it this summer.

                                                1. Just thought I'd throw my basil hat in the ring...
                                                  Chiffonade a bunch and infuse it into high proof alcohol. After a few days, strain and you have a basil liquor. You can lower the alcohol content by diluting and/or sweeten with simple syrup.
                                                  BTW, when my basil plants get outta control, I clip the leaves and freeze in baggies. They turn black, but are still good for the likes of tomato sauce.

                                                  1. I like to melt a bit of butter and drizzle of olive oil with a smashed clove of garlic in a pan. While that heats, I make a sandwich of mozzarella, red red tomato (roasted peppers when no good tomato) and fresh basil leaves, often on sourdough, sometimes on a baguette. I then fry the sandwich up golden and crispy, in the garlicky pan.

                                                    1. One other idea: I made a basil-butter-lemon salad dressing that turned out great.

                                                      Tear or chop basil small, or use the tiny-leaf variety. With a spoon, beat it into some room-temperature-softened good quality butter, ideally grass-fed/pastured. Pour in some hazelnut or walnut oil and beat until the butter is completely incorporated. Add in some lemon juice and black pepper, and a little finely chopped or pressed garlic if you like.

                                                      So good.