Question: is there any discernable taste difference between sweet and Thai basil? In my opinion, not when you cook with it.
I found all this Thai basil stuffed in our crisper drawer from last week’s farmers market (oops) and hurried to turn it into a pesto, hoping to salvage whatever I could. Tasting the basil raw, it definitely had a more lemony, almost peppery flavor, compared to the sweet licorice of the “other” basil. Moreover, the physical differences are greater: Thai basil has more pointy leaves that are roughly textured, and are almost purple.
Still, basil is basil, in my opinion, and it all tastes good in pesto.
I made the quick pesto with roughly two handfuls of basil leaves, one palmful of pine nuts, four chopped garlic cloves, 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese and 1/4 c. EVOO. Blend with salt and pepper to taste.
I shmeared the pesto on the beautifully bubbly ciabatta bread we picked up today from Ollie’s bakery downtown. Then, I layered sliced fresh mozarella and heirloom tomatoes (don’t even bother with the non-heirloom variety here).
I pressed the sandwich in a hot skillet with a little butter, my substitution for a real panini press. It was delicious. I really think that ciabatta bread is the best bread for panini.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo