There are so many ways to use those last few batches of basil in your summer garden. Here are a few we’ve enjoyed throughout the summer. Remember you can also hang basil to dry and then crush it up to use for seasoning all winter long, or you can pulse it in your food processor and make pesto ice cubes ready to be melted into pasta dishes, dips or spreads.
15-20 basil leaves
2 tbsp sunflower seeds (the insides)
1 tbsp olive oil
pepper/salt to taste
2 tsp garlic or 1 clove of garlic
1/4 c. butter
1 wood cutting board
Pull out butter so it can warm to room temperature.
Chop your basil leaves into very very tiny pieces. You should sharpen your knife, if possible, before chopping the leaves, you want to be able to cut through the leaf without the edges turning black (which happens with a dull knife). Once you have minced the leaves, pour a handful of sunflower seeds (no shell) over the top of the basil and mince finely. You will continue to chop, scrape, and gather the mixture.
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (right onto the cutting board), 1 tsp. at a time (for a total of 3 tsp/1tbsp). Continue to mix and chop, mix and chop. Add pepper, salt, and garlic to mix (mince cloves before adding to the mixture). Once you are satisified with the consistency dump the pesto into a bowl with the butter. Use a fork to combine ingredients. And voila, pesto butter. Sometimes I add a dash or two of lemon to the mix as well.
For those of you who, like us, fancy going out to eat just so you can chow down on warm bread with oil & balsamic vinegar dip, you can use the ingredients above to make your very own dipping mixture. Simply, use the recipe below in a dish of olive oil with 2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar. This is quick and easy to throw together. Of course, you may have to try your hand at homemade baguettes to truly enjoy.
Same as above, minus butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
(Adjust to fit your individual tastes. We like lots of vinegar!)
If you prefer traditional pesto, the steps are the same as pesto butter but with more of each ingredient and obviously, no butter.
2 c. basil leaves
Adjust seasoning to fit your tastes (a good batch needs about 3 cloves of garlic)
1/4 c. olive oil for decent consistency (don’t add onto cutting board as with pesto butter, mix i n bowl)
Roughly 1/3 c. shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
Of course you can make both pesto butter and pesto more quickly with a food processor, but there are pros to chopping by hand. I’ll be honest, I only started making pesto by hand because I do not own a food processor. (Gasp) Although it takes more time, chopping your pesto mix by hand is well worth the effort. Hand chopping gives the pesto a coarse texture that has bold pops of flavor in every bite.
Hope this post inspires you to make the most of that last bit of garden basil. As always, leave a comment or shoot me an email if you need any clarification. Enjoy!