Thai Basil!

Our little raised bed garden is rocking this year. We got some organic basil and tomato starts from Tallahassee May of Turnbull Creek Farm and Tana Comer of Eaton Creek Organics. The basil, especially, is booming! The intense heat wave last week, though, gave us a scare so I went and picked a bunch of it all at once and was forced to make some pesto. I usually make a few jars of pesto every year. I’ll freeze some and give some away. I have several posts (and here) from years past about all the different ways I have found to use pesto. To be quite honest, I get a little tired of pesto now but I love growing basil because it does so well and I love the taste of it and pesto is such a good way to use all the excess. I often try either not using nuts or varying the type of nuts and always seem to make it different each time just to keep myself interested in the idea of pesto. I was thrilled to come up with this new recipe last week which is totally different from the classic and incorporates two different types of basil- Thai Purple and Lemon Basil.

Thai Pesto
Thai Basil (the purple leaves)
Lemon Basil
1-3 Cloves of Garlic (I used one big one)
Red Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Marinade for Chicken
½ cup Rice Vinegar
½ cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Thai Green Curry Paste
2 Tbsp Raw Cane Sugar

Several Kale Leaves
Juice of ½ Lime
Sea Salt
Several Romaine Leaves (although you could use any leafy green mix really)
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Lemon Cucumber, sliced
Cilantro & Basil Leaves, chopped
Black Pepper

Make the pesto and place in a jar in the refrigerator. I did not include measurements because it isn’t exact and can be very flexible. I just used a small bowl of thai basil, a small handful of the lemon basil, and a handful of cilantro. I only used as much olive oil needed to keep it all wet and keep my little grinder happy. Add sea salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Mix up the marinade and then place the chicken in it and in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Meanwhile, make the salad. I like to mix the kale in the bowl first with the lime juice and salt. Massage it with your fingers or with a fork. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the other salad ingredients. Then mix all the salad ingredients together and set aside while you prepare the chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade, lightly dust with flour, and the fry it up in the grapeseed oil. Once you flip the chicken pieces, top each with a little of the Thai pesto so it can warm up on top of the chicken. Serve the chicken strips on the salad greens.

I made this same recipe again using salmon. I marinated 2 pieces of salmon for an hour. I cut up some onions and sauteed them in an iron skillet. Once the onions were almost done, I pushed them to the sides of the pan and placed the salmon in the middle of the pan, flesh side down. I cooked it for 5 minutes on medium and then flipped them to skin side down.

I poured the marinade in the pan and topped each piece of salmon with Thai pesto. I cooked for 1 minute on this side and then turned the stove off and let sit for about 5 minutes.

This meal was accompanied by a bottle of Uriondo Bizaiko Txakolina, a white wine from Spain, which I found at Woodland Wine Merchant. Yum!

I served the salmon and onions over brown rice. I topped the plate with chopped basil and green onions. Delicious!