what can do I with an enormous amount of basil? I’m just one (small)
person, and there’s only so much panzanella and pasta pomodoro I can
eat. I have about thirty portions of pesto in the freezer already - I’m
probably not going to live long enough to finish it. Especially
appreciated would be non-Italian, non-garlicky ideas that keep a long
And if anyone reading this lives on or near Manhattan’s
Lower East Side, and needs some basil, let me know. Because I have
enough to share. As you can see.
The luck of the draw. Some years the basil keels over and dies. And some years, like this one, the basil decides that it’s meant to be a tree. (Trans-herbal?) I keep elaborate gardening records of what I do from year to year, in an attempt to replicate success and avoid failure. It matters not. The plants will do what the plants will do.
Perhaps you could find out if there’s a convenient-to-you restaurant which participates in Second Harvest or some other meal program for the needy, and ask them if they would accept it (and/or some of the frozen basil) and pass it along. There might be legal constraints, but it’s worth asking.
You can always chop it up and freeze it with a bit of water in ice cube trays - that way you can just pop a cube into whatever sauce all winter long. It’s good in sauces/condiments other than pesto, like chimichurri, salad dressings, etc. You can throw leaves into salads whole or chiffonaded (any salad, not just caprese or panzanella). Roll leaves into wrap sandwiches or meat/cheese pinwheels. Use to infuse syrups for mixed drinks, ice cream base, etc. Chop and add to mayo for a sandwich spread or puree with oil as a drizzle or dipping oil.
I’m super jealous of your basil, by the way! I got a late start on mine and it’s not doing NEARLY this well!
Thanks for your ideas. I have no idea what inspired the basil. The parsley’s also in great shape, and the chives and rosemary are going great guns. Meanwhile, the cilantro and thyme aren’t winning any prizes. Why? Who the hell knows.
I had a fantastic version of basil chicken in Thailand. There was so much stir-fried basil that it served as a vegetable component. I’d try treating your basil leaves like baby spinach and saute it with some chicken. You can adapt the Thai version toward a more Mediterranean or Italian flavor profile.
I absolutely agree with you. And, like you, I’m having a banner growing season for basil. Even the extra basil stems that I’ve snipped and not used has been growing roots in water in the glass jar I stuck it in. And I’ve done nothing different this year – same plants from the same garden center planted in the same potting soil in the same raised planter on my deck. Go figure!
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes . I prefer Strianese brand .
Do not put in blender . Will change the color to pinkish .
Open and pour into mixing bowl . Large enough to when you squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers with your meticulously clean hands it won’t splatter .
Squeeze until smooth .
Set aside .
Heat on very low 2-3 tbs olive oil . in a sauce pan .
Add 2-3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
5 )When you begin to smell the garlic add those reserved tomatoes .
6 ) You can add crushed red pepper at this point . The heat will be through out the sauce if you add it at this time . Or you can wait until finished cooking ,This will provide heat in parts of the finished dish; not through out the sauce.
Simmer 20 - 30 min . Taste for salt . Add water if needed .
Wait until a little shimmer of olive oil appears on top of the sauce .
It’s done . Turn off heat
10 ) Now add the fresh basil . As much as you like . I add a good handful with the stems
Cover with the heat OFF .Let the basil sit in sauce for around 10 min . Pull out basil with tongs.