Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tomatoes and Basil - A Marriage Made in Heaven

a marriage made in heaven
char grilled sourdough, basil butter, cherry tomatoes, cheese, pepper and smoky sea salt

Still in preserving mode. Tomatoes and basil are both coming to an end and now is the time to make the most of any surplus. The cherry tomatoes have been bountiful this year, they are really too small for sauce making but I am not one to waste so I cook them in a pan with a little oil and a knob of butter until they are soft and squishy, pack them into plastic containers and freeze them. They are very handy to put into a casserole or pasta sauce.

Basil is more of a challenge, I like pesto when freshly made but not when kept for any period of time and never use dried basil. I now accept that basil is a summer herb and look forward to using it fresh, however, I preserve some basil each year to use in soups, pasta dishes and casseroles. This is my preferred way to preserve basil as it seems to maintain the fresh flavour. It is great softened and spread on char grilled bread/bruschetta or char grilled vegetables and will really add a boost to a pot of winter minestrone.

Basil Butter
1 bunch basil,
250 g soft butter
4 - 6 cloves garlic

Pick the leaves from the basil, wash and pat dry on clean teatowel/paper towel or spin in a salad spinner. Put basil leaves, butter and garlic in a food processor

 Process/blend until a smooth. Taste, add more garlic if needed.

Spoon out onto a baking tray covered with baking paper and freeze. I use a soup spoon to create my blobs of butter.

 When frozen put into a zip lock bag and put back in freezer.

This salt is fantastic, it is made in Pyramid Hill by Pyramid Salt Pty Ltd. Many, many years ago I taught at Pyramid Hill, every time I use it or the pink salt from this company it brings back so many memories of my time in this town and another nearby- Cohuna.

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