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Posted on 24 January 2012 by

Fried Calamari with Marinated Tomatoes, Chiles, and Basil

By David Harbilas

Calamari is such an easy, ubiquitous appetizer that it’s a wonder you don’t see it more on restaurant menus.

It also solves the problem of finding sustainable seafood, as squid are prolific, aggressive predators.

Most Italian eateries serve it with marinara and cherry peppers, and this is an obvious variation of that classic.

Finding the freshest ingredients is of the greatest importance, as they will make or break the dish. Mint is often used to cool the heat of the chiles in a dish like this, and here I opt for basil, which is in the mint family and goes well with the tomatoes.

Serves 4

Posted on 02 December 2010 by

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Tomato-Basil Crust

tenderloin_crustedBy David Harbilas

Like the beef tenderloin with tomato-blue cheese-bacon crust, this dish makes use of butter, but in a different way.

A crust is made with a mixture of chopped tomatoes and basil, Japanese panko bread crumbs and melted butter.

This is a dish best served with ripe, juicy tomatoes, as they don’t cook a great deal and their juices melt over the steaks.

It is also a natural partner for a rich demi glace or reduced brown stock.

Serves 4

  • 2 red globe tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup of basil leaves, chopped
  • About ½ cup of Japanese panko bread crumbs
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on 22 July 2008 by

Recipe: Caprese Salad

By Michelle Fabio

One of summer’s best treats in Italy or anywhere is Insalata Caprese or Caprese Salad, which, incidentally, also proudly displays the colors of Italy’s flag (red, white and green).

Named for the island of Capri on which it is said to have originated, this is a dish that can, technically, be made year-round, but if you want the flavors at their best, the heart of the summer is when you should enjoy this delightful salad.

The traditional recipe couldn’t be simpler: sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, sprinkled with freshly torn basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt.

But now for the details, because these are what will turn your good Caprese Salad into something your Italian neighbors will covet:

– The tomatoes should be red, vine-ripened, firm and Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 21 April 2008 by

Tomato Personals: Companion Plants Made Easy

Tomato CompanionBy Kira Hamman

Single red heirloom, tall but not leggy, seeks companion for cohabitation and mutual benefit.

Me: high-maintenance star of the show.

You: supporting player, not afraid to play second fiddle. Let’s complement each other’s needs!

Asparagus: I like to star, too, but I’m in a different show. Mine will be over by the time yours really gets started, so we’re perfect for each other! Plus, I’ll kill the nematodes that bother your lovely roots, while you keep those pesky asparagus beetles at bay for me.

Basil: Well, we taste delicious in the same dishes, so Read the rest of this entry »


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