Spices and herbs: Basil

Spices and herbs: Basil

What comes to mind when it comes to Basil? I think of tomato sauce, then pizza and Italy! The spicy and refreshing flavor of this herb is very welcome to the succulence of the tomato and the two pair perfectly with white cheeses. There is no escape from the land of the masses! The Caprese Salad (originally from the Island of Capre) and the Bruschetta are two examples of this combination in addition to the tribute that the city of Naples paid Queen Margarida with Pizza Margherita. For me, the flag of Italy is the combination of these ingredients! But tomatoes are actually from the Americas and basil from Asia.
In India, his country of origin, basil is the representation of the goddess Tulasi, wife of Vishnu, is considered the king of herbs. Aromatic with diverse medicinal and nourishing properties, it is a natural insect repellent for some insects, defending vegetable gardens and indoors. Source of Vitamin A, B6, C, K, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium, fights bacteria, is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, helps the cardiovascular system and in controlling blood sugar (controlling diabetes), acts against negative cholesterol is a diuretic, it fights depression! It also has beta carotene, even if in low quantity when compared to a carrot, this substance strengthens the immune system, prevents premature aging, grants elasticity and skin shine and promotes a more beautiful tan, too!
Spices and aromatic herbs are widely used by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and perfumery industries, among others. A substance called linalool is extracted from basil, used to fix perfumes, as is the example of Chanel nº5.
basil photo: Live Journal
Here is a recipe based on basil, the Pesto sauce. Very simple to make, does not need fire, accompanies salads, entrees and pasta.

  • 3 finely chopped garlic cloves; (it is important, before chopping the clove of garlic, cut it in half, in the lengthwise direction and discard the crumb, this avoids its strong flavor and its permanence after tasting);
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves (sanitized and dried);
  • 3 teaspoons of pinoli (30g), but can be substituted for nuts or almonds without shells;
  • 100g of grated Parmesan cheese (for a vegan option just remove the cheese and add salt to taste);
  • 150ml of extra virgin olive oil;
  • Black pepper powder to taste.

Preparation mode:

  1. It is practically two steps: to process all the ingredients, except the olive oil, which must be added gradually last.
  2. For a more spiritual preparation, chop the leaves with your hands and crush them with a pestle, incorporating with the other ingredients one by one according to the order: chopped garlic, salt (only if not adding Parmesan cheese), pinoli , cheese, olive oil and finally pepper. You can adapt the amounts of the ingredients to your taste.

Here in Dani’s video, you have another option to use Basil as an aperitif:

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