Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thai basil pesto

The fragrance of thai basil is undeniably delicious. My mouth waters when I even think about it. As I was plucking the sprigs of my CSA's herbs yesterday I wondered how I could keep this luscious flavor to use in the coming months of stir fries and sauces.

Yes, I googled 'thai basil pesto' and didn't find many recipes I liked.

A lot of the recipes were essentially a sweet basil pesto using pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese. A few switched it up using cashews or peanuts, peanut oil instead of olive. But all of them felt like they committed to much to one way of using the thai basil in a recipe.

I wanted a recipe that would allow me to be versatile with it, when it came time to add it to a recipe. So I took it to a basic place: how do I use thai basil?  I always use it with coconut milk and lemon grass. But the lemon grass, I find, releases a better flavor if it's heated slightly first, then added to a recipe.  So, a half can of Trader Joes Coconut Cream with my two handfuls of thai basil. It's concentrated, I think, so I'll only take what I need with each curry recipe I make and it will mix smoothly in, but *hopefully* release the gorgeous aroma and flavor I'm used to associating with thai basil.

Thai basil pesto

One can of coconut milk or coconut cream
4 handfuls of thai basil

1. Wash and drain the thai basil (I used my salad spinner to dry it off as best I could).
2. Remove as many stems as possible. the softer stems should be ok.
3. I plucked off as many leaves and flowers (I'm not sure if the flowers have flavor, but the more the merrier) and put them in the mini food processor.
4. Add in the coconut milk (or cream) and just mix it up until the leaves are chopped up to your preferred size.
5. I put this in a freezer-safe pyrex bowl overnight.
6. Use hot water to loosen the mixture. Plop it onto a cutting board and chop it into the portions you envision using for future recipes.
7. Right down what it is and the date, onto a freezer friendly bag, add pesto and freeze til needed.

The most I've done so far is leave it in the freezer overnight. I haven't tried it with rice or in a soup yet. Perhaps an update later or, if it's absolutely awful, I will promise to remove the offending recipe.

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