The French call basil the “royal plant” - “l’hebre royale”, and there is a good reason for that. In accordance with research, the scent of basil has a positive effect on people’s attitudes and outlook. Wow, no wonder I've been feeling so good lately!
In French cuisine, basil is an important herb. The most famous basil dish is pesto - and the French have their own version, called “pistou”. Pistou means pounded in the Provençal language and is most often associated with the Provencal dish Soupe au Pistou. I will make this for my hubby when the weather cools a bit.
We have alot of basil in le jardin. I finally made pesto for the first time. I think there are are as many recipes for pesto as there are cooks so I created my own. Try using it as a marinade for bbq fish or chicken. We use it as our main ingredient for salad dressing. I will prepare more this weekend and freeze it in ice cube trays to use when the plants are no longer. Jean Louis brought a lovely pestle and mortar from the South of France when he moved here. I will use it next time.Nancy's Recipe for Pistou
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup quality Parmesan, FRESHLY GRATED
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Roast pine nuts in a heavy pan until lightly golden (sans oil).
Roast garlic unpeeled in same pan until it becomes dark brown. Peel and chop. (I did one batch without roasting it in pan and the garlic taste was stronger)
Add to food processor and pulse
Use baby leaves (about 2 cups) to food processor and pulse (I like it a little coarse)
Add oil last.