Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pistou Basil

Recently my Pistou Basil arrived from The Cook's Garden. It is an attractive plant to add to the garden and it tastes wonderful. The fragrance and taste are more mild than a traditional basil. It's leaves which more closely resemble thyme than basil in size have been wonderful sprinkled over a mixed green salad with a bit of crumbled feta, raisins, and my favorite Brianna's Blush Wine Viniegrette dressing.

Pistou is a french version of pesto:

Pistou From Wikipedia
Pistou sauce, or just pistou, is a cold sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil. Some more modern versions of the recipe include grated parmesan, pecorino or similar hard cheeses. Traditionally, the ingredients are crushed and mixed together in a mortar with a pestle, (pistou means pounded in the Proven├žal language). It is often confused with pesto with which it shares some of the same ingredients, the key difference being absence of pinoli (pine nuts), from pistou. It is a typical condiment from the Provence region of France that can be served with pasta dishes or as a spread for bread. But it is most often associated with the Provencal dish Soupe au Pistou, a minestrone like summer soup that includes white beans, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, and vermicelli. These ingredients can be left out or replaced as long as the soup's golden rule about summer vegetables is followed. Thus Pistou soup is not made with, for example, leeks. Some recipes incorporate the pistou into the soup just before serving. Others recommend offering the sauce at the table to be added after the soup is served.
Both pistou and pesto probably share the same origins. The Roman poet
Virgil describes a sauce of crushed herbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil. A version with pinoli emerged around Genoa to become pesto, while pistou evolved in the areas around Nice.

Next year I will be sure to order a packet of seeds, this herb is already a favorite in my house!

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