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Using End-of-Summer Basil

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© Daniel Gritzer
Poached eggs with basil potatoes

Earlier this summer, a friend brought me a thoughtful house gift: six basil seedlings. They were wispy little things, but once planted in my backyard, they quickly shot up into robust and fragrant plants. For the past few months, I’ve snipped leaves and sprigs as needed, but now that the temperature has started to drop, it’s time to consider harvesting everything before a serious chill ruins all that’s left.

The question, then, is what to do with the sudden glut of the herb? Luckily, it’s easy to turn fresh basil into a puree in a blender with just enough oil to keep things spinning. The puree will keep for a couple of months in the freezer, and once defrosted it can be added to dishes for a wonderful basil kick. It doesn’t have to be too complicated either: I recently tossed boiled fingerling potatoes with a puree of basil, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil (in this case, pounded with a mortar and pestle)—sort of a cheese-less, nut-free pesto (pictured). Bathed with the yolks of two poached eggs, it made for a simple and very delicious brunch.

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