Julienne is a cutting technique to make matchstick-shaped foods, usually vegetables. Herbs such as basil can also be julienned, which helps release the flavor and oils in the herbs' leaves. You can use julienned basil in recipes or as a garnish.
Basil is a plant from the mint family. It has bright green leaves that are very aromatic, with a sweet and distinct flavor. Basil leaves easily infuse their flavor into dishes -- even more so when cut or ground as in the classic pesto. Fresh basil keeps in the refrigerator for a few days and can be frozen for prolonged use.
To julienne basil, clean and dry the fresh leaves. Stack the leaves and roll them, starting from one long side to the other to make a kind of loose cigar shape. Cut very thin slices, about 1/8 inch from the top of the roll to the bottom. The basil unfurls in long strips. Julienne basil just before use to prevent browning and wilting.
Fresh julienned basil is a good addition to light and summer salads and dishes. It pairs well with ingredient such as tomatoes, lemon, corn, cucumbers and mozzarella. You can top the classic tomato and mozzarella salad with julienned basil. You can add julienned basil to a homemade lemonade or frozen cocktail, or use julienned basil to infuse basil flavors in butter and cream-based sauces.
Basil is often used as a garnish, and julienned basil can make an interesting and aromatic presentation for a dish. You can create a bed of grass for an appetizer or add color to a monochromatic dish. You can top warm dishes such as tomato cream soup, lasagna, pasta with tomato sauce and pizza with julienned basil.
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