Picking the Taste of Summer

Put fresh basil to delicious use in appetizers and pasta salads.
By: Louise Durman
Basil Leaves Release Distinctive Fragrance

Basil Leaves Release Distinctive Fragrance

Stephen J. Lee calls himself "The Herb Meister."

He had come from his home in Louisville, Ky., to Honey Rock Herb Farm in Louisville, Tenn., to conduct one of his cooking classes for owners D. and Jim Brown in a barn-turned-classroom.

Lee has a degree in culinary arts from the University of Kentucky and studied under a former student of French chef Auguste Escoffier. He formerly operated the Cookbook Cottage, a bookstore and cooking school in Louisville. He is president of the Southeastern chapter of the International Herb Association.

 Here he offers two recipes using basil.

Caramelized Onion and Fresh Basil Spread

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, yellow Spanish, diced small
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
one 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp. basil leaves, fresh, shredded fine
dash hot pepper sauce

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transparent and just beginning to brown. Add the balsamic vinegar; stir well and continue to cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool and "age."

Place cooked onion, cream cheese and basil in a bowl and combine well. Season with hot pepper sauce. Serve with plain crackers or toasted bread slices.

About 8 servings.

Pasta Salad With Basil

D. Brown shares this recipe for a summer salad using fresh basil. Basil plants need to be pinched back, she stresses, so use the basil in salads, pesto and with tomatoes.

Ingredients:

8-ounce package of pasta
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
juice of 1 lemon
6 scallions, sliced
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/8 cup parsley, chopped fine
one 7-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
basil leaves, for garnish

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and put in a bowl. Stir in next eight ingredients gently. Top with walnuts. Cool to room temperature. Garnish with additional basil leaves, if desired, and serve.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Summer Pruning

Pruning isn't just for the dormant season; you can prune during the growing season too.

Picking a Kitchen Backsplash

Get tips on how to find a backsplash that meets your needs and expresses your personality

10 Tips for Picking Paint Colors

Take your interior from drab to fab with help from an expert.

Find Your Design Style + Toast Your Good Taste

Whether your design style is classic or contemporary, looks to the future or is a blast from the past — there’s a cocktail for that! Take our quiz to learn which style suits you best, then whip up one of our delish cocktails and toast to your good taste. Cheers!

Pruning Trees in the Summer

Trees that bleed sap when cut, such as magnolias, are best pruned in summer.

How to Pick Bathroom Faucets

Think of faucets as bathroom bling and choose one that suits your style, needs and budget

Just In: Photos From Mina Starsiak’s Gorgeous Summer Wedding

The Good Bones star's dress will make you do a double-take. Plus, guess which Good Bones co-star and relative officiated. 

5 Noteworthy Color + Texture Trends Taking Us Into Summer

Discover what's hot in design, straight from the showroom floor.

On TV

Flip or Flop Vegas

7:30am | 6:30c

Flip or Flop Vegas

8:30am | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Hawaii Life

8pm | 7c

Hawaii Life

8:30pm | 7:30c

Hawaii Life

9pm | 8c

Hawaii Life

9:30pm | 8:30c

Caribbean Life

11pm | 10c

Caribbean Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

Hawaii Life

12am | 11c

Hawaii Life

12:30am | 11:30c

Caribbean Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Hawaii Life

3am | 2c

Hawaii Life

3:30am | 2:30c

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.