I love going to the greenmarket. So lush. So much abundance. Talk about being in the moment! This spring I bought the cutest little basil plant. Not only would it mean that I had some fresh herbs on hand, but it would liven up my kitchen windowsill as well.
Until, of course, it grew to this:
It had outgrown my tiny brooklyn windowsill. I had to tame the monster. Here it is, four ways.
1. Strawberry-Basil Salad
The balsamic vinaigrette makes the strawberries very melty and the basil tasted like mint against the fruit. Not an everyday salad, but a nice surprise for the palate!
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound)
1/2 cup vertically sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add romaine lettuce, sliced strawberries, sliced onion, and torn basil; toss gently to coat. Serve salad immediately.
2. Corn Soup with Basil
I loved this soup. What a wonderful fresh meal, with a big ol’ chunk of bread. Anything that I can make in a big pot that has such a beautiful yellow color makes me feel like a domestic diva. Of course, with that said, the recipe is from Ellie Krieger, the “healthy” food star of the Food Network. So, after reading some of the reviews saying it was on the bland side, I made sure to add some red pepper flakes to spice things up.
Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger, The Food Network
4 cups fresh corn kernels or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen, thawed
2 cups nonfat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium zucchini, (about 1/2 pound) diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- Put 2 cups of the corn and the milk into a blender or food processor, until smooth. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini and cook, stirring until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of corn and the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pureed corn and tomatoes and cook until swarmed through, but not boiling. Add the salt and season with pepper. Serve garnished with the basil ribbons.
3. Zucchini Pancakes
Okay, people, run, don’t walk, to your kitchens. Make this recipe!! I am only saying this because I have actually had this recipe for years and make it every summer. This is a wise use of your local greenmarket, especially since I picked up the recipe on a greenmarket flyer. Now, granted, the one tricky thing is chopping the zucchini up into little pieces. If you have a food processor, you’re all set. If you’re like me, and you don’t, then it takes a little extra time chopping by hand (but still worth it!).
Recipe courtesy of Gabrielle Langholtz, adapted from Jack Bishop’s Vegetables Every Day
1 lb zucchini (about 2 6″ zucchini, grated)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh herbs (ahem, yes, I used basil!)
1/2 c flour
olive oil for cooking
Dry the grated zucchini by wringing it in a clean towel, or draining it, salted, in a colander for half an hour.
Combine the zuchini, garlic, salt and pepper, herbs and egg, and stir in the flour.
Heat a little oil in the bottom of a frying pan, and cook the pancakes (little ones for appetizers, or larger to be served whole or in wedges) for about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels with lemon wedges (or I also like apple sauce!).
Now I couldn’t do a whole post on basil without making pesto, right? I’m not a huge fan of pesto, but I had never made it, so I thought I’d try it. And, hey, it’s an easy way to use up a whole lot of basil at one time! What I learned is that pesto is extremely simple to make homemade, but if you use pine nuts (as is tradition), it is also very expensive! Now I have a whole bag of very expensive pine nuts in my fridge. Stay tuned for pine nuts recipes coming to a buttery blog near you! I also learned that I am still not a huge fan of pesto.
Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed, and dried
Salt to taste
1/2 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, or other had cheese (optional)
Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts, and about half the oil in a food processor or blender
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container occasionally, and adding the rest of the oil gradually. Add additional oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. Store in the refrigerator for a week or two, or in the freezer for several months
Stir in the Parmesan by hand just before serving
And, after all that, my monster is still a-growing!
Off to make Lady Butterbuns’ Blackberry-Basil Lemonade…
♦ Buttery B