Welcome to the fourth installment of "WTF, CSA?" Each week this CSA season, we'll help you make use of your overflowing CSA baskets. You ask, we answer. That's how this works. Or rather, you shouted, "WTF?" into your CSA box and now we're going to tell what on earth to do with all that basil.
Whether you were handed bunch after bunch of soft, lush Italian basil or peppery, anisy Thai basil, the race against wilting can sometimes feel insurmountable.
By now, we're all familiar enough with basil to have a few secret weapons in our repertoire. Everyone has (or should, if they don't) a favorite pesto recipe, a preferred way to build a caprese salad and a cute little appetizer on a skewer that includes a piece of basil. But what happens after you've exhausted all those tricks and still have three bunches of basil left over from your CSA?
Fear not, CSA-supporting citizens drowning in basil -- we have some ideas.
Nectarine Basil Iced Tea
<strong>Get the <a href="http://whatsheshaving.com/2011/08/07/nectarine-basil-iced-tea/" target="_hplink">Nectarine Basil Iced Tea recipe from I'll Have What She's Having</a></strong> One of our favorite uncommon uses for basil is as a floral, herbaceous element in iced tea. You will never stop using this trick once you start.
Thai Basil Mojito
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/thai-basil-mojito_n_1061245.html" target="_hplink">Thai Basil Mojito recipe</a></strong> The slightly peppery, anise-sharp taste of Thai basil stands up perfectly in this summer cocktail.
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Basil-Julep" target="_hplink">Basil Julep recipe from Saveur</a></strong> Give this new twist on the classic Mint Julep a try. It is so delicious, it's sure to win over even the most ardent purist.
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/emerald-gimlet_n_1061248.html" target="_hplink">Emerald Gimlet recipe</a></strong> The color of this cocktail makes us really delighted. Because basil is such a soft herb, simply muddling it releases all its flavor, aroma and color into this delicious cocktail. If you are vodka averse, gin can absolutely be substituted.
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/basil-vinaigrette_n_1058225.html" target="_hplink">Basil Vinaigrette recipe</a></strong> This vinaigrette is a bit like pesto, only drizzly and spiked with champagne vinegar. Delicious on everything from tomatoes to potatoes.
Creamy Basil Hummus
<strong>Get the <a href="http://ratherbebaking.com/2011/08/creamy-basil-hummus/" target="_hplink">Creamy Basil Hummus from Rather Be Baking</a></strong> This delicious, homemade hummus is a new summer staple for us.
Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms
<strong>Get the <a href="http://gimmesomeoven.com/easy-pesto-stuffed-mushrooms/" target="_hplink">Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms recipe from Gimme Some Oven</a></strong> Okay, fine. You caught us. This recipe has pesto in it. But we've never seen anyone stuff pesto into mushrooms before and when we thought about just how much basil this recipe could use up at once, we knew we had to include it.
Chilled Summer Squash And Basil Soup
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/chilled-summer-squash-and_n_1057603.html" target="_hplink">Chilled Summer Squash And Basil Soup recipe</a></strong> Legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher once said, "It is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without soup or bread in it." Around here, we love a good cold soup for summer and this bright green ode to basil will make your friends beg for seconds.
Green Melon, Cubanelle Peppers And Ricotta Salata
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/green-melon-cubanelle-pe_n_1540385.html" target="_hplink">Green Melon, Cubanelle Peppers and Ricotta Salata recipe</a></strong> We could stare at this picture for hours. You should allow yourself a brief stare, but don't forget to eat it. The sweet melon, tart peppers, rich cheese and floral basil are an amazing combination.
Green Goddess Dressing
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/green-goddess-dressing_n_1057071.html" target="_hplink">Green Goddess Dressing recipe</a></strong> The most popular salad dressing in America until Ranch came along, green goddess makes any bowl of lettuce more exciting. You'll be tempted to drink it straight. But don't! We still have dessert to cover.
Grilled Mussels With Salsa Verde
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/grilled-mussels-with-sals_n_1062462.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Mussels with Salsa Verde recipe</a></strong> These mussels combine two of our favorite things about summer: grilled seafood and fresh herbs. Salsa verde is another Italian sauce (like pesto, fine) that kind of goes with everything. Extra bonus: capers and anchovies make salsa verde a total umami bomb.
Green Apple And Basil Granita
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/green-apple-and-basil-gra_n_1059297.html" target="_hplink">Green Apple and Basil Granita recipe</a></strong> After all that basil, you're going to need to cleanse your palate... so here's more basil in icy granita form.
Apricot And Basil Shortbread Tart
<strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/apricot-and-basil-shortbr_n_1058201.html" target="_hplink">Apricot and Basil Shortbread Tart recipe</a></strong> We love a surprise kick of herbs in sweet desserts. The floral basil really complements the luscious pastry cream that's layered on this tart.
<strong>Get the <a href="http://blissfulbasil.com/2011/08/02/happy-1st-birthday-blissful-basil/" target="_hplink">Candied Basil recipe from Blissful Basil</a></strong> Candying is great way to preserve your basil, and turns it into a beautiful garnish for desserts. Especially desserts that have basil in them.
Freeze Your Basil In Olive Oil
Eaten your fill of basil and still losing the race against wilting on the rest? Try this amazing trick: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/freeze-herbs-olive-oil_n_1665706.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular" target="_hplink">freeze your basil in olive oil</a>. It preserves it for later use, and gives you individual blocks of herbaceous oil whenever you need it!