Special thanks to Kate Hutchinson, owner of Ciocolat Extraordinary Desserts, for this article.
At Ciocolat we love working with basil. We incorporate the fresh herb into many of our Italian-inspired dishes.
If you’d like to experience locally grown basil all year around-try freezing! We recommend a summer purchase from the Farmer’s Market, or harvesting it on a community harvest day from the Good Life Garden. Make your favorite pesto sauce, let it cool, and then freeze the sauce in an ice cube tray. This will give you individual portions of pesto that can be used in your pasta dishes all year long.
Visiting the Good Life Garden in the summer is a great way to experience the flavor differences in the many varieties of basil grown there.
One can do just about anything to basil for fabulous taste results. We chop basil to include in our pesto mayonnaise, use it as a condiment on our bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, sautee it for our tortellini sauce, and chiffonade the herb for our panzanella salad.
To experience the true flavor of basil, we recommend making a Caprese salad. This salad calls for using either whole leaves of basil, or if you prefer a less leafy salad, chopped basil.
In Italy this salad is served as an antipasto or appetizer. You will achieve the best flavor if you purchase your ingredients from a Farmer’s Market, or pick your ingredients from the Good Life Garden. Freshness is key to a great Caprese salad.
sliced fresh mozzarella
sliced fresh tomatoes
sliced or whole basil leaves
salt and pepper
Alternate tomato slices, and fresh mozzarella slices on the plate and arrange basil and olives on top.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil.