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Lemon Basil - What to do with it?

  • c
  • Cebca May 28, 2009 11:08 AM

I bought a wonderfully fragrant, deliciously fresh bunch of lemon basil at the Farmer's Market on Tuesday and cannot figure out what to do with it. On Tuesday I tried it in a quinoa dish with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and asparagus sprinkled with parmesan cheese, but it just wasn't really working. Last night I made a carrot-ginger soup flavored with garam masala and tried to use it as a garnish, but again, the flavors just didn't quite meld properly. I want to use it in something delicious before it goes all wilty on me! Any tips?

I found this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/412711 which seems to focus on using it for pesto, which sounds like a great idea (especially because I have so much of it)! If I went this route does anyone have some tips on good substitutions for pine nuts? Too expensive for my blood . . ..

I'd love ideas basides pesto as well.

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  1. go out and buy some fish. i grew it years ago and the only way i liked[actualy i loved it] it was with fish.

    1. I make an amazing lemon basil chicken, sauteed chicken dredged in a little flour with lemon pepper, then sauteed in butter, Add some shallot if you want, white wine to deglaze, then some white wine, cream, and fresh lemon basil and remove from heat and fresh lemon. Grilled or sauteed lemons are also good. Serve over pasta, spinach or lemon pepper pasta is best but any works. It is great and easy. It is an amazing dish

      Let me know if you want full ingredients

      2 Replies
      1. re: kchurchill5

        Nice idea, Kim. I was playing around with some of these ingredients a couple of weeks ago (shallot, lemon, ricotta). I will have to try it with the addition of the lemon basil. Thanks!

        1. re: kattyeyes

          Welcome, always a favorite and many ways to make it. My recipes are always flexible. Add this take away that. It is really tasty and good flavor.

          Lemon and ricotta is great. I could see a nice rolled lasagna with minced chicken, lemon basil, lemon zest, some mozz, thyme and a simple bechemel sauce and maybe some fresh spinach in the filling. Fennel would be a nice addition as well. sort of lasagna or manicotti rolls with the same flavors. I may have to try a version this weekend. Even ravioli, chicken/spinach/lemon zest/shallots/ricotta with a creamy lemon basil sauce. Who knows. Sunday play time :)

      2. one more thing. put the basil stems in a glass of water and they will last a lot longer

        1. Basil pesto is great over spinach pasta with lemon zest and roasted asparagus, shallots and shrimp. Marinate the shrimp in lemon, olive oil, oregano, s/p then grill, broil and pan saute. The best.

          A great fresh salad with roasted asparagus, roasted red peppers, fresh lemons grilled, and grilled romaine. Toss all and then serve with a lemon basil vinaigrette with fresh gouda cheese.

          1. Cocktails! Lemon juice, vodka, basil simple syrup, maybe a little club soda depending on whether you go up or rocks, fresh sprig to tickle your nose.

            1. I had a huge crop of lemon basil last summer, and made an infused olive oil with it - wonderful on salads, vegetables, whatever. As I recall, I took about 4 cups of leaves, two cups of good olive oil, and very gently heated it for about 10 minutes, then let it sit in a cool dark place for a day or two. Strain, and store in the frig.

              I planted a bunch more this year - I'm going to try the lemon basil chicken this year....Kchurchill, would you mind posting the full ingredients? Thanks!

              3 Replies
              1. re: kmr

                Glad to ... probably in the am if that is ok, got to head out right now.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  Ok, recipe. I love this over rice, lemon pepper pasta or even better a spinach linguini. But any pasta you like works well with this dish. Once the pasta is cooked I like to just squeeze a half of lemon on it with some olive oil, s/p is all.

                  The dish is:
                  4 chicken breasts someone flattened (don't have to be thin but I like to flatten a bit); 3/4 white wine; 1/4 cup chicken broth/ 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 lemon cut into slices; 3/4 cup heavy cream; 1/3 cup lemon basil; lemon pepper 1 teaspoon for the chicken / 1/2 teaspoon for the sauce; 1 teaspoon fresh thyme; flour, s/p, olive oil and butter to saute the chicken in. Scallions as a garnish

                  You mix 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning with about 3/4 cup flour in a baggie or in a bowl and dredge the semi flattened chicken in the flour mix. Then saute the chicken breasts along with the lemon slices in a blend of butter and olive oil until brown on each side. Just until done. Remove and set aside and cover. Now the sauce. Add the shallot and a little more lemon pepper and cook until the shallot is soft, just a minute, add the wine to deglaze and broth and cook 2-3 minutes until it slightly reduces. Add the lemon basil, thyme, lemon slices and chicken back in and cream and cook another minute. Remove, add the lemon and serve over your favorite pasta or rice. I love to garnish it with scallions and the lemons I cooked 1 or 2 on each breast make a great presentation.

                  But please remember, not slices the lemon or regular cream vs heavy cream, regular pasta vs spinach pasta. Any combination will work. Just everything goes well. But use your own judgement. This recipe varies everytime I make it according to what I have on time. Also ... this is not a heavy sauce. It is a thin glaze that mixes great with the pasta and almost becomes a sauce for the pasta vs a gravy.

                  It is really good and very tasty.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    Thanks!

              2. join our COTM thread where we are working on James Oseland's Indonesian book - Lemon Basil is a big deal in Indonesian Cooking and there are a lot of recipes using it. Ive given you some online links below. Its a great element of these dishes. Im so envious of you, since in NY my lemon basil is only about 5 in high now!

                http://www.spicelines.com/2006/08/rec...
                http://jamesoseland.com/cooking/fragr...
                http://mzkitchen.com/?p=499

                1 Reply
                1. re: jen kalb

                  awesome, thanks!

                2. one of my all time favorite basils.

                  Recently I've used it in some small appetizers like sheets of watermelon and feta with lemon basil and fruity EVOO. Also did a tomato "caviar" with lemon basil and good finishing EVOO

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    mmmm i do love that watermelon feta idea - i am leaving my job in a few weeks and they are throwing me a potluck goodbye, that sounds like the perfect thing to bring (though no, of course, for this current bunch of basil)

                  2. I'm sure you've figured this out and enjoyed it already, but caprese over ciabatta. It is one of my summertime faves.

                    We're growing lemon basil on the deck and I snipped some and added to a salad today. Delicious!

                    1. bumping this thread- does anyone have any new ideas using for lemon basil?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: phoenikia

                        I've been using mine in infused lemonade & limeade; also made a pitcher of raspberry lemon basil iced tea. Another thing I did was to make shrimp & lemon basil manicotti with ricotta & a white sauce (and yes, seafood & cheese together was superb!)

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          I took one whiff at the farmers market this wknd & fell in love! Thus far, I've kept it simple so as not to mask that heady scent. Took hot fettucine & mixed in a couple tablespoons of whipped cream cheese & very mild goat cheese, some sauteed onion & zucchini - topped with juilenned lemon basil. Today at work I steamed yellow squash, green beans & red bell pepper in the microwave, tossed with butter, lemon pepper & garnished with the shredded lemon basil. That lemon basil took a frankly "ghetto" office lunch to a whole new level of yum. With the last of it, I plan to make a white pizza with ricotta, wild mushrooms, & chicken. Finished with torn lemon basil right before serving.

                          1. re: phoenikia

                            And now I'll start the 2011 lemon-basil thread bump. I bought some at a plant sale and it's growing beautifully. Alas, it's just one plant. Any great ideas? I was thinking of a chilled tomato-yogurt soup zipped up with some lemon juice and using lemon basil as a garnish.

                            1. re: nofunlatte

                              I just read (forget where) of lemon basil-infused ice cream! Sadly, all my basil is growing poorly...i.e. not really growing much at all. But since you're having such good luck, here's a recipe from Fine Cooking:
                              http://www.finecooking.com/item/10790...

                              1. re: nofunlatte

                                I like it with poultry, seafood, & pasta dishes - particularly seafood. A handful stuffed inside a chicken or whole fish for roasting is wonderful, & a pesto made with it is fabulous tossed with pasta or dolloped atop large seared sea scallops.