Happy summer! We’re up to our ears in basil (we have 4 plants this year) and wanted to share a fun, easy recipe for using up some of that basil. Pesto is an obvious choice for basil, but what about bright fluorescent green basil oil? It’s simple to put together, easier and cheaper than pesto, and darn tasty. The basic concept is: blanch the basil (boil it 1 minute, then plunge into ice water), then blend it with oil. It yields a beautiful, verdant green sauce that tastes like summer.
How to use it? Here are a few ways we’ve brainstormed to use a basil oil drizzle, but there are many more:
- Sliced tomatoes (above), or a caprese salad
- Toasted or grilled bread
- Pasta (we haven’t tried it yet, but think this would be fabulous)
- Crostini with goat cheese (minus the citrus jam in this link)
- Grilled corn
- Fried eggs
- Grilled or roasted vegetables
- French fries
As in all things supremely simple, the quality of ingredients is key with a basil oil. Top of the line olive oil is a must here. If you’ve listened to our podcast, you may remember Episode 17 where we had an olive oil tasting with an expert from California Olive Ranch. We learned everything from how to taste olive oil (by slurping, of course!), how to purchase (look for single country of origin, seals of authenticity, and harvest date), and health benefits (incorporating olive oil in your diet has shown to prevent cancers, promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and decrease risk of diabetes). With basil oil, the flavor of the oil makes the magic, so make sure to use the best quality olive oil you can find. We used California Olive Ranch Rich and Robust flavor, which was a silky smooth carrier for the basil flavor.
To us, simple & quick “non-recipes” like this are the stuff of summer. We picked up the best heirloom tomatoes we could find and covered them in the basil oil, which was visually stunning and perfect for a patio party appetizer. Enjoy, and let us know if you try it out!
Did you make this recipe?
We’d love to hear how it turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Start a small pot of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Remove the basil leaves from the stem and wash them; measure out 1 packed cup of leaves (make sure to pack the cup full for the best flavor). Once the water is boiling, add the basil and boil for 1 minute. Immediately turn off the heat, remove the basil and plunge it into the ice bath. Once the leaves are cool, remove them from the water and squeeze out as much excess water as possible, then dry them with a paper towel. (At this point the leaves will have wilted and reduced to a very small handful.)
- Place the blanched basil, olive oil, salt and pepper in a blender or in the cup for an immersion blender; blend until fully combined. Taste, and add additional salt if desired. Pour into a sealable container. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
This basil oil post is sponsored by California Olive Ranch. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the partners who keep A Couple Cooks in action!