Two ways to cook... basil

Basil has a fragrance that is redolent of sunshine. Here it is used in a topping for baked fish, and in a pesto for home made flatbreads.

Aside from freshly picked leaves, one of the most popular ways in which we consume basil is in pesto.

Aside from freshly picked leaves, one of the most popular ways in which we consume basil is in pesto.

 

GARY’S WAY... Basil and pine nut flatbread with prosciutto and Parmesan
Basil is a herb that I simply can’t get enough of. It brings such a depth of flavour to sauces, purées, soups, salads and, believe it or not, even sorbet and ice-cream. It’s best to keep it in a cool area of your kitchen. Should you put it in your fridge, be sure to roll it in paper towels and run them under cold water for a few seconds to soak. Make sure no leaves are exposed as they tend to go black under the cold fan in a fridge.

Aside from freshly picked leaves, one of the most popular ways in which we consume basil is in pesto. Use the best olive oil you can get your hands on, as well as top quality aged Parmesan cheese. This flatbread recipe couldn’t be easier and it’s a real crowd pleaser.

I’ve used prosciutto and Parmesan to finish it off, but let your imagination go wild. Chicken, prawns, pork, grilled veggies, you name it they’ll all work well.

VANESSA’S WAY... Baked fish with basil, pine nuts and prosciutto
I love to keep supersized pots of basil on my kitchen windowsill in summer and I’m envious of my green fingered friends who can encourage further growth, alas not I.

Fish cooks quickly and goes well with herbs, which is perfect during the summer months when lighter meals seem just right. This recipe works for a dinner party as it makes great use of your oven to do all the work – roasting pine nuts, prosciutto, tomatoes and ultimately to bake the fish.

Watch those expensive pine nuts as they toast in the oven. Make sure the fish is at room temperature so it cooks through before the pine nuts burn or the basil paste

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