Basil
Saturday, 05 February 2011
Description

Basil is a tender herb used prominently in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Southeast Asian cuisines of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It has a flavor similar to anise with a strong pungent, sweet smell.

It is commonly used fresh and generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb loses most of its flavor.

Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. Its other two main ingredients are olive oil and pine nuts.

Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces—in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums. Arguably the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavor, is more suitable for use with fruit.

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