Basil is a highly fragrant plant whose leaves are used as a seasoning herb for many different types of foods. Basil has become one of the most recognizable herbs ever since pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, has become popular.
Basil has round leaves that are oftentimes pointed. They are green in color, although some varieties feature hints of red or purple. Basil looks a little like peppermint, which is not surprising since they belong to the same plant family.
Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.
Combine fresh chopped basil with garlic and olive oil to make a dairy-free variety of pesto that can top a variety of dishes including pasta, salmon and whole wheat brushetta.
- Enjoy a taste of Italy by layering fresh basil leaves over tomato slices and mozzarella cheese to create this traditional colorful and delicious salad.
- Adding basil to healthy stir-fries, especially those that include eggplant, cabbage, chili peppers, tofu and cashew nuts will give them a Thai flair.
- Purée basil, olive oil and onions in a food processor or blender and add to tomato soups.
- Enjoy a warm cup of invigorating basil tea by infusing chopped basil leaves in boiling water for eight minutes.
How to Store Your Aquaponically Grown Basil
Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Plate - Insalata Caprese Recipe
Recipe Type: Salad and Salad Dressing/span>>, < Tomato, Appetizer
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 min
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 to 4 medium fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil>
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect.
Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle capers over the top.
Just before serving, drizzle on some top-quality extra-virgin olive oil. NOTE: Insalata Caprese should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar of any kind goes on true Insalata Caprese!
Makes 4 servings.