Basil is the perfect herb for pasta (especially in pesto, tomato sauce and chicken. Basil has a dark green colour.
The flavour of basil is almost addictive and there is little that basil cannot improve. Drying removes most of the top notes and creates a more allspice and clove taste, so use the fresh herb wherever possible.
While the aroma of basil leaves is really strong and refreshing, with hints of cloves and anise, the taste is much less pervasive than that and can be used in large quantities. But it does increase in flavour when used in cooking, so be careful not to overdo it in sauces because it can dominate.
Basil is best when used to complement fresh, ripe tomatoes, in a simple Tomato, mozzarella and basil salad, or in pesto.
Asian basils include Holy basil and Thai basil, which should be used if you can find them for Indian or Thai dishes.
- Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN 9780778804932.
- McVicar, J. (1999, republished 2006) Jekka's Complete Herb Book, Silverdale Books. ISBN 9781845093709.
- Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465435989.