Currently viewing the tag: "basil"

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon herbs; such as chervil, oregano, basil, marjoram, or a combination of the above-leaves plucked and chopped with a very sharp knife

1 tablespoon minced shallot

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, peeled

¾ cup light flavored olive or neutral flavored oil

 

METHOD:

Rub a non-reactive bowl with the garlic clove vigorously enough to leave streaks of garlic oil behind. Discard the clove or use for something else. Put the vinegar into the bowl, and add half the herbs, shallot, and the salt and pepper. Allow to macerate 10-15 minutes.

In a slow steady stream, drizzle in the oil, whisking vigorously the entire time until all the oil is emulsified.

Gently fold in the rest of the herbs, taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed.

Will keep 3-5 days before the fresh herbs begin to breakfast.

Yield: 1 cup

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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This is pretty much just what it says, a typical pico de gallo salsa, but made with summer squash rather than cucumbers, and scallions stand in for white or yellow onions, and mild sweet Gypsy peppers replace the typical jalapeño. Basil and lemon replace the cilantro and lime, making this an “alternate dimension” salsa fresca. If you like it hot, add a spicy chili or two or scatter some pizza-house chili flakes in.

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Quite simple, but quite good. This is a versatile combination-cut the squash into different shapes, grill it just enough to cook through and chill it and dress it with cold dressing for a salad tossed with some romaine or Little Gem lettuce. Use mint instead of basil, and go Mid-East.

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Here’s a riff on the more forward flavored Charred Scallion Vinaigrette. The yogurt softens the “charred” flavor, and the basil combines with the charred scallion to yield a flavor reminiscent of a wood-fired pizza with a thin crust nicely charred in spots. Use for drizzling on grilled summer squash, or dipping crudité or hot grilled or cold steamed shrimp.

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Gypsy peppers fried in oil that you fried basil leaves in. The crisp leaves form a garnish to the peppers and scallions with garlic which bottom notes. Eat this on toasts, pizzas with fresh mozzarella, serve with simple grilled fish or with pasta.

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Use this as is for a side dish, or cook some pasta such as orecchiette, cavatelli, or casarecce (or whatever) and use this as a sauce. Don’t forget to add 4-6 ounces of the pasta water to the dish to help form the sauce. It may seem odd to use salami here, but it is not uncommon in Italy, and the right salami can bring a lot of flavor to a dish. The Toscano called for here is typically flavorful and fairly easy to find.  For this dish, larger fat grains are good, and a fine deep flavor with some spice is good.

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It seems the majority of people I tell about sautéing cucumbers balk at the idea, yet never think twice about eating sautéed zucchini. Bearing in mind that summer squash are a New World import, all those Chinese dishes with zucchini in them probably used cucumber originally. When cooked well, cucumber has a pleasantly mild flavor that plays well with other flavors, and can retain its pleasing crunch while softening up at the same time. Some partners to consider are King Oyster and regular oyster mushrooms, snap and snow peas, chicken, sweet carrots, fish or scallops, or mild soft greens such as spinach. The version here is kept very simple to showcase the cucumber flavor and lovely marriage with the basil. Consider this as a bed for poached or baked chicken, or fish or sautéed scallops, or gently sautéed pork chops.

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Strawberries have enough tartness to stand out in a salad. The ones you want are the ones that have a little firmness to them still, not the really soft ones.

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This dressing is for a salad of soft lettuces and strawberries, but would go with cold pasta salad with tomato and cucumber, with cold chicken for a hot summer day, poached salmon hot or cold, or something with cabbage or kales, as well as salads made up of Romaine or Little Gems.

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Carrots and mint, carrots and basil, these seem a natural combo. Adding the caramelized Tokyo turnips adds just a touch of bitter to the mix which contrasts nicely with the sweet carrots. If using purple carrots, keep the turnips separate until serving so the color of the carrots doesn’t make the turnips look smudgy. As bunches of everything vary, you want an equal amount, or slightly more carrots than turnips.

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A variation on a theme, only here the butter and oil from roasting form part of a Meyer lemon dressing that garnishes the radishes and dresses the Little Gem lettuce salad this recipe is destined for. This recipe would be nice with fish, chicken or pork, or anything that would go with the word picatta.

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This is a Provençal inspired recipe with a twist. Some people find that summer squash has a subtly bitter flavor, which is unpleasant for them. This recipe plays that flavor up, and also counters it, by using caramelized sugar on the surface of the cuts on the squash. Caramelized sugar has both a bitter quality and sweetness, as do the squash. Costata Romanesco, Cousa, and tromboncini squash (look for this unusual squash at markets) all have firmer flesh than zucchini or crookneck, and can be seared and browned without getting mushy as quickly the latter. If using a mélange of these, add the zucchini and crooknecks later than the rest. These squash also pick up an almond-like nutty flavor when caramelized.

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Modern American cuisine smacks into traditional Mediterranean. This salad was inspired by a Salade Niçoise, but is much, much simpler. You want to use good quality tuna for this-at least use albacore if you can’t find any European tuna packed in olive oil. Also, If you have beans you have cooked yourself the dish will be better for them, but the recipe simply calls for pantry staple canned white beans. Rinse them really well.

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The smaller size of the ingredients of this salad give it a lightness and ensures you can get all the flavors in one bite, giving a sum that is more than the parts alone. Make this with or without the lettuce as you choose. It adds a welcome crunch, and slightly bitter and sweet flavor of the lettuce acts as a bridge between the zucchini and tomatoes.

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No meat in this, but the presentation, the thin slices, and the fact that it is raw make the connection in my mind. This is one of those times you want a fixed blade slicer. It can be done with a knife, but it will be a challenge. Cousa and zucchini are ideal for this dish, and Pattypan will work as well, but I think crooknecks are best left for other preparations. This dish lends itself to variations, from really simple to simple but elegant. The dressing can be scattered as separate ingredients or made into a vinaigrette, the garnish can be skipped or be complex-it’s all up to what you want at the time.

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This dish uses vanilla paste for a twist on an old favorite along with the nectarine, but it is worth having a jar of the paste around as it makes a great “secret ingredient” to have around. Try it as part of a rub for pork tenderloin with a coffee sauce, or use it with shellfish such as shrimp, scallops, and lobster.

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Like so many things French, you can find more than one “vrais” (real, true) recipe for soupe au pistou, and the basil paste that gives it its name. Some have tomatoes, some not. A few have cheese. Most do not. None have nuts. That I have seen so far. Since I first learned pistou without tomatoes, that iteration will be v.1.

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This is a twist on the classic Insalata Caprese, with good fresh mozzarella torn or cut into small bits and paired with a cold tomato coulis instead of slices of tomato. The basil appears as an oil, or thin shreds. It can served on a plate, or in a bowl or even a glass. For an elegant appetizer.

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Serve this as a side or over pappardelle noodles or with crisp sautéed gnocchi. This could also be served over slices of sturdy grilled bread as bruschetta. Also, it is good hot or room temperature.

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This is a simple dish that can be eaten hot or room temperature, as an appetizer or as a light main dish with a salad.

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Elephant Ears is a very popular dish here, which is breaded and fried pork chops with a tomato arugula salad on top. You could, if you wish, toss the tomatoes with pesto thinned with a little oil and some balsamic. A Ben-Riner or mandolin is best used for this recipe.

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Use this as a bed for grilled fish or chicken. Be sure to just warm the cabbage and give it a little color, but not to cook it through. This dish is about contrasts of textures and flavors.

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This dish relies on a couple basics that share the same technique-grilling. The sauce could be made the day before and all you’d have to do is come home, make pasta and heat sauce, then toss together.

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This is a very pretty dish if you can get the rainbow carrots, but it will still taste great if all you have are monochromatic carrots. It is important to watch the sugar as it browns. It only takes a split second and it can go from caramel to charcoal. Feel free to remove the pan from the heat to slow it down, and have your butter cut and ready to toss in. Do it a couple times and it is no big deal. Besides basil, you could use cilantro or mint. Might even work with shiso. Many rainbow carrots have color that is mostly on the outside, so scrub rather than peel.

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A sort of culinary pun on the theme of peas and carrots. Usually the peas carry a sweetness that matches the carrots, but here the favas act as a foil to that inherent sweetness with their almost cheesy nutty flavor and slight bitterness. The basil bridges the sweetness and earthiness of the carrots and the earthy and sharp notes of favas with sweetness and the slight edge that basil has. If you do not have basil, oregano would be great here, or even mint.

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This grew out of my liking for carrots and orange juice. Mint often appears with carrots at my table, and basil and mint often swap places in recipes, so it just seemed natural. Using bigger chunks of carrot allows the flavor of the carrot to develop while keeping it from getting really soft. 

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Sometimes I have artichokes and am not sure when I will get them into a menu, so I will just cook them when I get the chance whether I intend to serve them at that moment or not. They are good cold, can be re-heated, or worked into something else, as happened here. The combination of artichoke and potato is a great one, especially with sweet waxy potatoes such as Yukon Golds or a fingerling type. This salad would be good with some cauliflower florets blanched and dressed while hot, then cooled and added in.

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This gratin is quite simple to assemble, and easier to cook. It can be assembled earlier in the day and then cooked, or you can cook it off and serve it at room temperature or re-heat it. It is even good cold. It makes a great vegetarian sandwich-just smear a soft roll with tapenade and lay in some of this gratin. This gratin is really fun if you have various colors of squash to play with as it yields a nice colorful dish. Although the instructions seem long, they are not really, and once you have done this you will find a hundred variations spring to mind.

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Favas and Romano cheese are a classic Italian combination, from simply eating small early favas and slices of young Romano to mixing them in dishes. I recently had company that did not eat dairy, but I wanted to use pesto. If you taste a fresh young fava it has a cheesy taste, with a little tang and that hard-to-define eau de barnyard funk, along with a slightly gritty yet creamy texture. Just like Romano cheese. Turns out that tender young favas make an excellent substitute for Romano cheese in pesto. Use this vegan pesto as you would a regular pesto.

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The pesto is on quotations because you can just toss a handful of basil and garlic into a blender and then add almonds for a quick pesto-ish mélange rather than making a full on batch of pesto. If you wanted to, you could toss in flat leaf parsley with the basil to stretch it, or you can even use pesto from a jar. You would still need to add almonds for the flavor they impart. This is here to use up the last of the season basil you might have in the garden, or in the refrigerator.

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