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Crunchy & Delicious Basil Salt (or, Something Else to Do With All that Fresh Basil!)

Posted Jun 14 2010 12:00am
It had been more than two weeks since I'd been able to go out on the deck to check my potted herbs. Yesterday, I set off on my Roll-About to see how I could maneuver the threshold at the back door and the spaces between the wooden planks on the deck. You never notice these things if you have two good feet to use. I am glad this is just a temporary state of affairs for me.

With all the rain and heat we have been having here in my little corner of South Carolina, my herbs (that only three weeks ago were small sprigs) are now luxuriously draping over the sides of their rustic pots and mounding together prettily in the centers. Everything looks healthy and beautiful, but I discovered that a hungry little insect is helping itself to dinner in the basil pot. I decided to pluck off a healthy bunch, along with a pretty little chive flower that I couldn't resist. Back to the kitchen with my bounty!

I recently read a post on Lucullian Delights in which Ilva made basil sugar. (I am planning to try that, too.) This made me think of using the same concept, but with good kosher salt instead. It turned out beautiful and aromatic. It brightened the flavor of of the store-bought tomatoes I quartered for my lunch, and when I sprinkled it on disks of goat cheese, it added a delightful crunch to contrast the creaminess of the cheese. I wish I had some good ricotta to sprinkle it over.




Basil Salt
A large handful of basil leaves, rinsed and spun dry (lay out on a towel to dry; the drier the better)
About a cup of kosher salt

Place the basil leaves and salt in your food processor or blender and pulse until the leaves are very fine. Spread salt out on a rimmed sheet on the counter for several hours to dry. (Do not cover.) Store in a tightly closed container. Use to flavor chicken breasts and white fish steaks and fillets; sprinkle on vegetables and soft cheeses such as ricotta. The flavor is delicate and mild.
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