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Too Much Basil

g
gomes Aug 2, 2009 01:26 AM

This summer one of the few successful crops I've had is my basil plant, which has grown wildly. Unfortunately, a few of the leaves are beginning to wilt and I guess I have to do something with them quickly. I'm a big basil fan and would love some basil-prominent dishes. Any suggestions, besides pesto and tomato sauce?

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  1. kattyeyes Aug 2, 2009 04:05 AM

    Don't laugh as I'm completely serious: ice cream or gelato. And if you're not an ice cream maker, you can make a custard or creme brulee infused with basil, too. I made gelato with cinnamon basil and 1/2 a cinnamon stick. Google around and you will find other combos that may work for you. Here's my cinnamon basil gelato recipe for starters:
    http://www.chow.com/recipes/27478

    I know there are lots of Thai dishes and curries with basil, and though they use a different type of basil, I'm sure you could improvise and come up with something tasty.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kattyeyes
      Vetter Aug 2, 2009 10:02 AM

      Oh, our local ice cream shop makes a basil ice cream that is to die for. I vote for that. I'd probably blanch the basil really quick, dunk it in ice water, and blitz it in something going into the base. I bet David Leibovitz has a recipe.

      1. re: Vetter
        kattyeyes Aug 2, 2009 12:15 PM

        Look again, ol' kattyeyes has a recipe, too. ;) No need to blanch and blitz the basil--see link above. You let the leaves infuse as you're cooking the custard, then strain them. I've done the same when making fresh mint ice cream and lavender creme brulee. Works like a charm.

    2. Den Aug 2, 2009 04:57 AM

      Caprese Salad for one

      1. Uncle Bob Aug 2, 2009 05:42 AM

        Focaccia Burgers.......Bread, Meat, Tomato, Mozzarella, and lots of basil.

        Enjoy!!!

        1. thew Aug 2, 2009 06:10 AM

          in stews. in thai food. in chinese food. as part of a steak sauce. in mashed potatoes. inside a whole grilled fish.

          etc.

          1. hotoynoodle Aug 2, 2009 06:26 AM

            shredded and added to a green salad.

            in couscous

            in lentils

            with scrambled eggs

            1. h
              HillJ Aug 2, 2009 09:14 AM

              Chop finely and roll goat cheese into the basil; serve with veggies/crackers
              Add to cheesecake batter for a savory alternative
              Addd to ricotta cheese for a variety of recipes
              Freeze in an ice cube tray indiv. leaves for future use.
              Dry in bunches for later use

              Enjoy!

              1. NYchowcook Aug 2, 2009 09:16 AM

                Add to any vegetable or grain salad.
                Layer in lasagna.
                Add to a stir-fry
                Add to corn soup or strained corn puree (great w/ scallops!).
                With tomatoes for bruschetta.
                Drizzle a puree of basil, garlic, olive oil & salt onto pizza after it comes out of the oven.

                Basil makes a great compound butter w/ garlic that you can freeze for the taste of summer in the fall. Also pesto w/o the cheese freezes well, and you'll appreciate it after you have a lull in basil overload.

                Since basil does grow like a weed, you can snip the stem at a joint and prolong its life before flowering, though it sounds like you may not want to . . .

                1 Reply
                1. re: NYchowcook
                  hotoynoodle Aug 2, 2009 09:18 AM

                  i love corn with basil.

                  i also put it in potato vinaigrette salads and focaccia breads

                2. Vetter Aug 2, 2009 10:03 AM

                  You could make a basil oil that you can drizzle on caprese, pizzas, roasted potatoes, etc-- from what I've read, you blanch the basil and blitz it in a blender with EVOO, and then sieve it and keep it in the fridge. Thomas Keller has a recipe (that involves spinach for color, I think) in the French Laundry cookbook.

                  1. JonParker Aug 2, 2009 10:19 AM

                    i know you mentioned this, but honestly I don't think you can have too much pesto. Courtney will spend an afternoon making the stuff and freezing it. We *always* have something for dinner, no matter how late or how tired we are when we get home. Mix it up, minus the parmesan-regganio, stick it in the freezer and remember it when you'd otherwise end up getting takeout.

                    1. randyhusted Aug 2, 2009 10:47 AM

                      Make some pesto and freeze it in Ice cream trays, once frozen put it into a ziploc bag and you can have pesto all winter.

                      MAKE SOME MONEY!!! If you have any small "nice" restaurants in town, take some to them. Even at peek season, most restaurants are paying about $15-$20 a pound from their supplier. Put one pound, including the branches, into a bag and take it in. See if you can get $10 or a free lunch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: randyhusted
                        l
                        LauraGrace Aug 2, 2009 03:26 PM

                        A friend of mine did this last year with his surplus heirloom tomatoes and his basil. Made a bit of extra money and got fresh local mozzarella once a week in trade.

                        He said it was pretty funny to see it on the menu -- "Salad of locally grown organic heirloom tomatoes and basil..." -- for like twelve bucks.

                      2. Fritter Aug 2, 2009 12:42 PM

                        I know you said besides pesto but the thing I love about pesto (other than the flavor) is the fact that I can freeze it in small containers for this winter. Just cover the top of each batch with EVOO.
                        Pine nuts are a steal at Costco but I'm no fan of the parm they carry.
                        To be honest 90% of the reason I grow basil is for caprese salad.
                        So simple, so delicious.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Fritter
                          kattyeyes Aug 2, 2009 12:53 PM

                          <<To be honest 90% of the reason I grow basil is for caprese salad.>>

                          Us, too (sort of)--exception here is that we make it on top of bruschetta...so whatever is appropriate to call bruschetta with the addition of basil and fresh mozz! ;)

                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            Fritter Aug 2, 2009 01:15 PM

                            mmmm Time to make some bread! :-)

                        2. Funwithfood Aug 2, 2009 05:42 PM

                          ....btw pesto freezes well, I'm still enjoying my 2006 vintage--tastes as good as day 1.

                          1. Paulustrious Aug 3, 2009 07:34 AM

                            An interesting post...

                            http://www.apinchof.com/preservebasil...

                            1. JEN10 Aug 3, 2009 10:13 AM

                              My italian Grandmother would hold it in olive oil. So when I have a large batch from the farmers market, I chop it and cover it in EVOO refrigerate and you have basil at hand. You could also freeze it for later.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: JEN10
                                Basilette Aug 3, 2009 12:09 PM

                                Thai basil is best for Thai/Vietnamese dishes, but standard basil is wonderful stir fried with chicken in a Chinese-style dish. Google any recipe for "basil chicken" and you'll find something. We've made it with a relatively simple, soy and chicken stock base, and used up about 5 handfuls of basil!

                                1. re: Basilette
                                  thew Aug 3, 2009 01:44 PM

                                  but itaian basil w/ a little mint and/or tarragon makes a nice replacement for tai basil

                              2. b
                                Brandon Nelson Aug 3, 2009 12:09 PM

                                Pesto keeps well in the fridge or freezer.

                                1. ChefJune Aug 3, 2009 01:29 PM

                                  imho, there's no such thing as "too much basil." I'd be happy to take some off your hands. ;)

                                  When I'm blessed with an overabundance, I process it with just olive oil and freeze it in small glass jars. Then, all winter long, I can pull some "fresh basil" out to season sauces or make pesto, or whatever I want to do with it.

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