Culinary News

Ingredient Spotlight: Basil

Ingredient Spotlight: Basil The unofficial herb of summer, basil grows as a tender, large-leaf herb with a pungent, floral flavor, often with a hint of cloves. Basil pairs well with other summer ingredients, especially tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and summer squashes. Basils are members of the Mint family, botanically speaking, but each variety brings its own unique flavor characteristics to dishes. Green Basil, also known as Genovese basil or sweet basil, is used liberally in summertime dishes such as Pasta Pomodoro and Pesto. Lemon Basil and Opal Basil make good substitutes for Green Basil, bringing a similar pleasant, floral flavor to dishes. These milder basils are great in Caprese Salad, or as a garnish for pasta dishes and risottos. Lemon Basil and Opal Basil also make delicious Ice Cream! Steep the cream with the basil to bring out the floral flavor, then strain the leaves and continue as usual. Strong-flavored varieties like Thai Basil (including its purple flower, Thai Basil Blossom) and Cinnamon Basil should be used sparingly. Thai Basil is a key component of Thai curries and can always be found on the garnish platter for Vietnamese Pho. The pungent Japanese basil better known as shiso or perilla comes in Red Shiso and Green Shiso varieties, and is used in Sushi and as a garnish in many Japanese dishes. (click on the links for more information) Here are the different varieties of Basil: Green Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Holy Basil, Lemon Basil, Opal Basil, Green Shiso, Red Shiso, Thai Basil, Thai Basil Blossom. Here are ways to use Basil: Pesto, Caprese Salad, Pasta Sauce, Risotto, Ice Cream

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