It’s summer and that means it’s basil season!
It also means I don’t feel like cooking.
You can buy massive hanks of basil at the farmer’s market for a dollar or three, or if you’re a little more green of thumb, grow piles of it in any old pot you have laying around outside.
The inimitable aroma of this ubiquitous summer herb lands me right into the heart of Tuscany every time I smell it, or a rooftop in Rome, or my mother’s lush Maine garden, or a certain kitchen in a beach house in North Carolina where my sister and I cook up simple summer meals for our families…sticky with sand and salt, and lazy from the sun.
It is pure magic, this basil, as good in a sweet dish as it is in a savory one. It’s applications are endless—I’m pretty sure literally everything is better with basil.
Here are three nom nom, no-cook ways to eat it.
Peaches With Basil, Balsamic & Honeycomb
(This is especially nom because peaches happen to be in season at the exact same time as basil—winning! Not only that, you can get local honeycomb at most farmer’s markets too.)
- 1 ripe, room temperature peach, sliced
- 1-2 tbl honeycomb, broken into pieces (regular honey is fine if you can’t find honeycomb)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3-5 fresh basil leaves, sliced (I just use scissors; stack leaves and cut into ribbons)
- a pinch of coarse sea salt
Arrange peach slices in a pretty bowl, top with other ingredients.
Avocado and Basil Pesto
This is unusual not because of the basil, but because avocados are not normally included in pestos. After I tried this, though, I realized they always should be!
- 1 ripe avocado, pit removed
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
- juice of one lemon
- 2 fresh garlic cloves
- 2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix into pasta, spaghetti squash noodles, or steamed new potatoes, or use a a spread for sandwiches, smear on toast, or toss into sauteed mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini or tomatoes.
Fruit and Basil Breakfast Smoothie
It is hard to overstate just how much a few basil leaves amp up your average smoothie.
- 1/2- 1 banana
- 1 cup any kind of fruit
- 1 tbl chia or flax seeds
- 2 cups loosely packed greens, any kind
- 3 ice cubes
- 1 cup water
- 5 basil leaves
- 1 t/l honey or 1 Medjool date if desired
Blend well and drink immediately.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Image: from thebittenword.com at Flickr