Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Celebration Harvest Recipe: Basil

There are so many terrific recipes that include basil from sauces to salads and even bread.  I chose Basil for Earth Day because it is easy to grow, doesn't take up much space and is very versatile.  I'm including several recipes with Basil.

Basil Infused Oil

#1.  There are a variety of different methods to infusing oil with basil. Probably the easiest and most traditional method simply entails putting the oil in any kind of container, probably most easily in a clear bottle along with the basil herbs. From here the container should be kept in a room temperature environment for any period of time whether it be a few hours to a few weeks. The container can even be left out in the sun, as this accelerates the infusion process.

#2.  The technique for making infused oil is much the same whether the ingredient is basil, rosemary, oregano, garlic, chiles or citrus fruit. For every cup of olive oil, use two tightly packed cups of basil or any other soft-leaved green herb--chervil, chives, cilantro, mint. (Tarragon does not work well except early in the spring when it is very sweet, he writes. Otherwise it tends to taste bitter when infused.) Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the herbs, making sure that the leaves are submerged, and blanch for five seconds. Drain into a strainer and immediately plunge the herbs into a bowl of ice water. Drain well and squeeze out all liquid. Puree in a blender with olive oil. Strain puree immediately through a fine-mesh strainer. Strain again through four layers of cheesecloth. Put in a sterilized glass bottle, cover tightly and refrigerate. For optimum flavor, use within a week.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
½ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, packed (optional)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

1. Place ingredients in a food processor, starting with half of the ingredients if the processor bowl is small, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of container. Blend until pesto forms a thick, smooth paste.
2. Store in refrigerator in a tightly closed container for up to a week, or freeze for a few months. 

Pesto Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, peeled
kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
cracked black pepper, to taste

1. In the bowl of a food processor, purée garlic and salt until a paste is formed. Add pine nuts and basil and process until a fine paste formed. 
2. With motor running, add vinegar and then slowly add oil in a thin stream until the mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Salad

6 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 small cucumber - peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. I planted basil for the first time this year! Can't wait to infuse some with oil. Thanks for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday party!

    Robyn from Robyn's View

  2. This looks like a lot of fun! I have made garlic infused olive oil, and lemon, but not anything herbal. Yum!

  3. This looks great! I have a lot of basil growing! Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friends Friday! Don’t forget to come back on Sunday to Vote.
    Lois @

  4. Looks great.. thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.. Newest follower here

  5. I have so much basil in my backyard; this would be a great way to use it!! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!


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