HOW TO CUT BASIL
Chiffonade is a culinary term for any thinly cut strips of vegetables or herbs – usually a garnish. In French it literally means “made of rags.’
Note-there are 6 photo steps but I’ve combined steps 2 and 3 in direction notes.
Steps to the Chiffonade Cut
1.Take a few leaves of basil and stack one on top of the other. Put the largest one at the bottom.
2. Roll the basil leaves together into a tight cylinder.
3. Using a sharp knife, slice the basil leaves as thinly as possible.
4. Move from one end of the cylinder to the other.
5. Separate the ribbons of basil and you’re ready to use these beautiful feathery ribbons of basil!
HOW TO STORE FRESH CUT BASIL
Basil is notoriously fragile. It bruises easily. The leaves turn dark with too much handling. Use as quickly as possible.
If you must, wrap in a damp paper towel, in a food storage bag, or covered container for 1-2 days.
Image: A bunch of basil in a jar of water for storing it fresh
Method 1: Store Your Basil Like a “Flower Bouquet”
As with all fresh vegetables and herbs, even those that can replace basil, it is helpful to think of it as a neatly trimmed bouquet. Think of basil as those bright green flowers. Store, and keep them fresh for longer as you do with flowers.
Step 1: Fill a jar halfway with water
Step 2: Trim the stems
Step 3: Add to jar and store at 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 4: Place a bag loosely over basil
Step 5: Change water every 1-2 days
By this method, you can keep fresh basil naturally, but when you want to use basil leaves, you have to cut the green, fresh, and old leaves and do not cut the young leaves or buds because plants will die quickly. That is an excellent and simple way to do it.
Ideas to add fresh basil:
Pesto. Bruschetta. Classic Caprese Salad
Peach Salad. Lasagna.Pesto. Tomato Sauce. Pan Pizza
Its unique flavor pairs exceptionally well with tomatoes. You can add basil to pretty much any tomato-based sauce, whether it is used for pasta or pizza. If you’re making a summer salad, don’t forget to throw in some fresh (or dried) basil for an extra kick in flavor.
Apart from tomatoes, basil, especially the dried type, also works well with other veggies like zucchini and eggplant. Plus, you can use any kind of basil to season your fish, poultry, and even brew tea with it!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I freeze basil chiffonade?
No. It will be slimy when defrosted.
Can I substitute dried basil for fresh in recipes?
It’s not recommended. It will not taste the same. The taste of basil transforms when it is dried into something some people compare as being closer to mint. However, when you’re in a pinch, use dried.
What is the equivalent of dried basil to fresh?
One tablespoon of fresh herbs roughly equals one teaspoon of dried herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh basil, you need only one teaspoon of dried basil (or other herbs!) remember, dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs!
What can I use instead of basil in bruschetta?
Nothing really compares. Classic bruschetta is served with fresh tomatoes and basil. But if you don’t have basil, the best substitute perhaps is oregano or mint. You will have a Mint Bruschetta!
Can I use regular basil instead of Thai basil?
Thai Basil has a slightly peppery, spicy, anise licorice-like flavor. In terms of appearance, Thai basil has a purple stem and small, sturdy leaves with serrated edges. With that knowledge, there are many varieties of basil and using sweet or Genovese basil you won’t obtain that authentic Thai profile. I’d suggest increasing the amount of sweet basil to compensate for the intensity of Thai basil.
©2022 Regina Mitchell | based in las vegas + teaching virtually worldwide