Using FRESH basil..........anyone?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    For the first time in my long life I have grown basil and parsley and have some tomatoes that look like they may end up fine. Oh yeah, I also have garlic chives!

    NOW...I've prepared "from scratch" manicotti makings for tomorrow and can't figure out whether to add fresh basil to the sauce or not. Doesn't basil turn dark
    when it is cooked??? I think so.

    We ARE going to have fresh basil tomorrow night, lol. Should I add it to the sauce
    or the manicotti filling.....or add it to the salad. Help! DDD

    PS: How I wish that my life was plagued with problems like this instead of difficult children!
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    In the salad is good. If you add it to the sauce, you can cook the leaves on the stems whole, then pull it out when you're done cooking the sauce. Otherwise, make a chiffonade and add it to the sauce as it comes off of the heat. It doesn't cook well.

    We take tomatoes and grill them with a little basil and parmesan on top.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I use fresh basil in DRunken Noodles, a Thai dish-very yummy!
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    You should add chopped or shredded fresh basil leaves at the end of the cooking time. Otherwise it turns black and you actually lose a lot of the flavor. Basil can also be shredded and put up in olive oil. It'll keep the herb fresh and green, and it keeps forever so long as you make sure the basil is covered with the oil.

    The oil can also be used on it's own in salad dressings and the like.

    Enjoy! I LOVE basil and used to grow several varieties of it. Actually, Opal Basil is more commonly used in Asian dishes that the usual "Italian" basil we grow here.

    I used to grow it, but was never able to find started plants. We used to have to start that in a cold frame from seed and put it out once the ground was warm enough (Basil is NOT cold hardy at all)
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If you have bunches of it, make pesto out of it. Puree it in a blender with olive oil, for the most basic pesto. Add salt but make sure there is enough olive ol to cover the puree, or it goes black. Otherwise - you can keep it green.

    For a more authentic pesto, puree it with olive oil, salt, toasted nuts (you're supposed to use pine nuts, but I prefer cashews), garlic. And finally stiar through some grated parmesan cheese.

    To cook with basil, you can pull it out before serving, or you can stir through some shredded basil right before serving (the flavour is marvellous then) or you can shred it and add it to a tomato-based salad.

    A nice way to have it - shred some basil and serve it over sliced tomato on crackers, or on bruschetta. Make a raw salsa by chopping some really ripe tomatoes, a little finely chopped Spanish onion, some salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar (maybe add a pinch of brown sugar too) and ten stir in the shredded basil.

    Another lovely treat - get a soft round cheese such as a whole small Brie or camembert, slice it in half (into two rounds, like a sponge cake you're layering) then put on some semi-dried tomatoes and whole fresh basil leaves. Put the half cheese back on top, then let it sit, covered, to warm up to room temperature. Serve on a cheese board with crackers or brushcetta.

    I love fresh basil and generally find that wherever you're using tomatoes, you can use basil too. Just don't let the basil cook for too long. It is nicest when raw.

  6. jal

    jal Member

    You can make the pesto as Marg suggested and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove from trays and package it in plastic bags and put in the freezer. Then you can use it anytime. My mom does this. She was making a dish the other night and took a few cubes out to defrost from a batch she made last summer. She mixed it in with goat cheese and lemon juice to stuff chicken breasts with. YUM!
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member usual, lol. I'm going to add the fresh basil after I take the Manicotti out of the oven. We love it fresh but in the back of my head I seemed to remember that it turns black if
    actually cooked. Bummer.

    I had no idea that it would stay fresh in olive oil. That will make sure I don't waste it...I'll do that for sure.

    Seems that I had a recipe somewhere that called for placing fresh tomato, cheese and full basil leaves inside a chicken breast pocket. I thought I'd try that but..not if it is going to turn

    GN the plants are more than thriving in full Florida sun with temperatures in the 90's. The only things that died were three pepper plants. Guess they like yankee weather. The plants
    are Bonnie Plants that come in a container ready to drop into the ground. I wonder if you couldn't try some inside your home and then transfer outside once the weather is right??

    Thanks again, everyone. DDD