Basil, the 'King of Herbs,' bursts with summer flavor

Basil, the ‘King of Herbs,’ bursts with summer flavor

  • By Sue Ade
  • Tuesday, July 19, 2016 5:39pm
  • LifeFood

The “King of Herbs” to culinarians the world over, basil brings a burst of summer flavor to a wide array of vegetable, meat, fish and egg dishes. Aromatic, with both a sweet and savory, slightly peppery taste, basil often appears as an unexpected ingredient in cakes, pies, sorbets – even cookies – like the Lemon-Basil Blueberry Muffin Top Cookies featured here, from Jey at thejeyofcooking.com. In addition, basil is also one of the flavoring ingredients for Chartreuse liqueur.

Common varieties of basil include Sweet Basil, Dark Opal Basil, Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Thai Basil, with pesto, made via a fusion of sweet basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese, being the most venerable vehicle for fresh basil of all. Karen G. Sorkin’s seductive pesto recipe is brilliant and so well- balanced, that no other seasoning is required when it is used as a sauce for pasta, a dressing for salads or a medium for binding ingredients in which the taste of basil is essential. If you’ve not yet tried swirling a bit of pesto into a bowl of soup, especially those that are tomato-based, now’s the ideal time to indulge.

As an herbal treatment for an expansive list of ailments, including depression, some embrace basil as being an effective remedy. I know I feel good when I eat it, so maybe there’s something to the concept.

If you aren’t growing your own fresh basil and you purchase it from your grocer or farmers’ market, look for leaves that are bright green, with no blemishes or signs of decay. A half-ounce of fresh basil will yield one cup of chopped fresh basil and when cooking with it, add it towards the end of the cooking process to minimize the dissipation of flavor.

More in Life

Homer writer Richard Chiappone. (Photo by Joshua Veldstra)
‘Hunger of Crows’ perfect for winter reading

Chiappone’s first novel is set in Homer, Anchor Point.

Fresh dinner rolls made without the addition of dairy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Baking for everyone

Dinner rolls skip the dairy, but not the flavor

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: ‘Tis the Season

The Kenai Community Library has always been one of the stars in the crown of the community.

Homer News Ben Mitchell, left, serves spaghetti to helper Pat Wells in the kitchen at a past Share the Spirit spaghetti feed. (Michael Armstrong/Homer News file)
Looking to share some holiday spirit? Here’s how

Share the Spirit serves the Homer community by donating food, essential needs and Christmas presents.

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

File
Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.

Make pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes for a decadent fall treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: In honor of ‘Cupcake Mondays’

Pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes brighten up the dreariest of work.

Nick Varney
Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Back off, Zeus

If this wet-n-warm, freeze, then start again, continues much longer, Kachemak Drive will need a complete redo.