I just picked some fresh basil and it smells so good, I can’t stand myself. The smell of freshly picked basil is sharp, bright and almost resinous. It’s distinctively glorious. I have a huge handful of those smooth, shiny leaves to sprinkle over the fresh green beans and goat cheese we’re having for dinner. I wish I could wave my herb-scented hand in front of your face and have you smell the magic. There’s no kidding around or going halfway with the smell and the taste of basil. Either you like it or you don’t. And I happen to love it.
In Oregon, one has to take advantage of fresh produce and herbs when they are in season, because the growing season isn’t very long. So when the garden is producing, whatever’s ripe is pretty much what’s for dinner.
If I had to choose my favorite meal, I’d say a just picked, still warm from the sun tomato, lemon cucumber, basil and cream cheese sandwich, all jam packed into a piece of whole wheat pita bread. I’m not sure if I invented it, or if it’s a well-known thing. But I’ll tell you that it’s a summer meal that I look forward to the moment I plant the spring garden. And for some reason, it tastes sigh-worthy when eaten while standing in the garden, leaned over with the juices dripping down your arm.
I understand the correct way to chop basil is to slice it with the leaves rolled up into a ball and thinly sliced horizontally called chiffonade. I know because I saw it on the cooking channel, and we all know that’s the ultimate authority for all things kitchen. One doesn’t have to be a culinary expert, however, to enjoy fresh basil on or in everything from pizza to pasta, cocktails to canapes.
One of my best friends refers to the smell of fresh picked basil as orgasmic. I’m just saying.