It's time to gather up herbs for the winter. Always keep herb cuttings in a vase or jar on the kitchen table. I'm much more likely to use a chifronade of basil on the Insalada Caprese or a sprig of dill on the roasted lemon pepper salmon, if it is within reach.
The basil's days are numbered. With the least hint of frost, basil will curl up and die. So, gather up vases or jars full of herb cuttings. I only have tree kinds of basil growing in the vegetable garden this year.
What to do with
- Lots of Basil - Make pesto (recipe)
- Plenty of Basil - Make herb vinegar
- Basil cuttings or springs - Make your favorite basil scented dishes. Pizza Mahgarita, Bruchetta, sliced tomatoes and basil.
Cut a few fresh herb sprigs everyday to have the freshest herbs before the first frost.
2/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts*, toasted
6cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Blanch to preserve the color and flavor of basil. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Blanch basil leaves by plunging in salted, boiling water. Immediately dip leaves into ice water. Pat leaves dry on paper or cotton towels.
In a blender or food processer, combine toasted nuts, basil leaves and garlic until well-mixed. As machine is running, drizzel oil into the processor. Continue to blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in grated cheese if using right away.
To freeze, fill an ice-cube tray for individual portions. Or scoop out into tablspoon portions on a plate and freeze. When frozen, store posrtions in a ziplock freezer bag.
When ready to use, defrost for 30 minutes at room temperature then mix in cheese.
* Try locally grown nuts instead of pine nuts. For example, where I live, pecans are readily available. I use toasted pecans instead of pinenuts.