Friday, July 31, 2015

8-2-Eat: Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

8-2-Eat is my food-focused list series. A perfect Friday distraction. Today, I feature 8 great ways to enjoy summer's marquee herb, basil.

1. Pesto. This classic Italian blend of basil, pine nuts and cheese is a great way to use up basil if you find yourself with an excess of the herb. In the summer, it's great to have on hand for pasta and sandwiches.

2. Gazpacho. The classic Spanish cold soup--so perfect for hot summer days--is heavy on tomatoes and other vegetables but needs a touch of basil for green flavor. Try this Creamy Andalusian version.

Tipsy gazpacho cocktail
3. Tipsy Gazpacho Cocktail. A summery gin cocktail inspired by the cold soup (see #2 above) and made with a roasted tomato syrup and fresh basil.

4. Ratatouille. Basil tops an assortment of sautéed summer vegetables.

5. Tomato Bruschetta. Crusty toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes. So simple, so summery perfect, especially when finished with fresh basil.

Roasted tomato panzanella
6. Panzanella. Our favorite summer salad of toasted bread cubes, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and fresh mozzarella, dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar,  just isn't complete without a burst of fresh basil flavor.

7. Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad. A chiffonade (sliced thin strands) of fresh basil is a must for a good summer pasta, whether served hot or cold like in this salad.

Sliced fresh tomato salad
8. Sliced Fresh Tomato Salad. When summer tomatoes are at their peak, they need little enhancement, but some fresh basil is always a welcome partner.

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