I did some Fall clean-up in the garden yesterday. Cleared out a small bed readying it for pansies and one of the plants I pulled out was my basil. Before it was dug up I stripped it of every basil leaf I could.
Now, what to do with all those verdant, fragrant little photosynthesis machines?
I have enough pesto in the fridge so here's what I did......
Basil Butter, Preserved Basil Leaves in Olive Oil and Basil Salt.
This year I planted a Cinnamon Basil plant. I wasn't that crazy about it. I didn't notice a big difference in the taste but I didn't like the feel and texture of the leaves. They weren't big and smooth like I prefer.
they had harsh ribs on them and felt rough like an elm leaf. But the important thing was that they had a good flavor. Next year I'll plant a different variety.
This was only a quarter of the leaves I picked. The first thing I did with all of the cuttings was wash them thoroughly in cold water. I washed them while they were still on the stems, picked them off, spun them around in a salad spinner then let them finish drying completely on a towel.
Mmmm. I love flavored butters
So simple. 1/2 cup butter, 2 Tbsp. finely minced basil leaves & 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. That's it.
I find it easy to mince by rolling up a stack of leaves and slicing into thin ribbons
Now you have a nice chiffonade, which, in French, means little ribbons.
mince your little ribbons until you have tiny little pieces
put everything in the food processor and pulse until you have a smooth, well blended mixture
plop your butter onto a piece of wax paper.
form into a log (about the size of a toilet paper tube), roll up, twist the ends, secure with twisties and put it in the fridge. Done.
Flavored butters make nice gifts too. You can tie the ends with cute twine, decorate the wax paper with washi tape, or whatever. They freeze well too. They're great to use on steamed vegetables, pasta or a little pat on your steak.
Preserved Basil Leaves in Olive Oil
You get a double treat with this. You can pull out basil leaves to use in a recipe and you'll also have some nicely flavored olive oil.
Basil leaves, olive oil and a little salt.
I used a pint jar and used about 2 cups of whole basil leaves. You can make as little or as much of this as you like.
sprinkle a little salt in the bottom of the jar
Add a layer of leaves
pour on a little olive oil to cover the leaves.
Repeat this process until your jar is as full as you want it. Put a lid on it and stick it in the 'fridge.
This was the easiest of all
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 Tbsp. finely minced basil. Mince the basil as described in the flavored butter above.
NOTE: Even though you are mincing up dried leaves, the mince will be very moist. Let the minced leaves completely dry out; I let mine dry over night to make sure it was good and dry.
mix your salt and dried basil together in a small bowl then transfer to your container.