I have this thing about fresh herbs, and basil is one of my favs. While it does not give me quite the same culogasm that cilantro does (I *love* cilantro, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps) I still find basil to be quite the irresistibly fragrant little minx. And so? If I am at the Farmers Market and it looks good, I tend to buy it, often with no real purpose in mind. But then...since when do you need a purpose to buy fresh herbs right? You -find- a purpose, right? Wrong. When you have children, and an obsessive commitment to canning, things get lost in the shuffle.
Such was the case last week, I bought two large bundles of deliciously scented basil with high aspirations, and what I ended up with was a bag of swiftly wilting leaves. Wilting leaves and deep feelings of regret. I was not just going to let these lovely darlings go quietly into that good night, though, I had to save them. I -had- to. And so? I created what my daughter would eventually dub 'Yucky Stuff' (She never actually tasted it, just made a snap judgment, and that became the gospel according to Mini-Me. Nothing to be done but accept it...yeah, the inmates TOTALLY run the asylum around here.) However, contrary to the opinion of our resident preschooler, my Basil Rescue Sauce was actually quite tasty...and quite useful.
First: The Sauce
Okay, I have no fast and hard recipe for this because...you really don't need one. I just stuffed the basil I had into my food processor, and gave it a spin with a couple of garlic cloves, while drizzling olive oil into it. I tasted it, added a bit of salt and a squeeze of citrus (I had lime juice on hand) to keep it from browning. When I was satisfied with it, I put it all in a jar and tossed it into the fridge. Done.
Keep in mind that this really isn't finished product, so it does not have to be amazing. Leave a little room to season it up later.
Second: The Application
Now I have a component sitting pretty in my fridge, just waiting to add a little something different to...whatever. I guess the question becomes...what did I do with it?
1) Grilled Cheese.
Nothing too complex here. I smeared the Rescue Sauce on two slices of bread, then placed a piece of plain ol' American (*gag* it was all we had, I was desperate) between them. After buttering the outside I tossed the whole shebang on the griddle and...yeah...the most upscale grilled cheese ever to be constructed with American 'cheese'. The four year old declined a bite after spotting the Yucky Stuff (she's got a wicked radar, this kid).
After washing and patting some chicken thighs dry, I gave the girls a good salt and peppering, and placed them in a glass dish. After smearing the Rescue Sauce on top, I trickled a bit of wine into the bottom of the dish and covered it in foil. I gave it a good bake at 375 degrees, removing the foil toward the end so everything could brown beautifully. Rice...veggies...dinner. Done.
|Nothing says classy like egg noodles and Ziti|
Admittedly this last one was kind of a throw away, but it also illustrates how convenient this sort of herb preparation is. The girls were in bed, and while I needed to eat, I was completely uninterested in the orzo with pesto sauce that I had originally intended to round out this trio. Instead, I took some leftover pasta and microwaved it with a glug of olive oil. After giving the noodles a sprinkle of salt, I added a tablespoon of RS and had instant dinner.
I could have also whisked a spoonful with olive oil and vinegar, making a delicious vinaigrette or stirred it into some diced tomatoes before serving the concoction on toasted baguette slices. So many possibilities, and so many reasons not to just let your herbs go to waste. Particularly an herb with so much personality.