I have this quirky tendency to wiggle excitedly in my seat, swaying side to side and tapping my toes like a little girl when I eat something that I truly enjoy. Don’t you do that too?! Haven’t you ever experienced something that makes you so happy you feel like a kid again?! Well, this was my reaction when I sampled my latest summer frozen treat, Basil Sorbet.
I love incorporating herb into my baking. I had bought a ton of basil from the store (my plants on my balcony are too small still) to use in a tomato and mozzarella salad one evening, leaving me with a large bag of basil that needed to get used up. I took the opportunity to try Basil Sorbet. I googled a bunch of recipes but they were all essentially citrus sorbets with the addition of basil: Lemon-Basil, Lime-Basil, and Orange-Basil. I wanted pure basil. So I created my own recipe, hoping that it would come out. After freezing it in my ice cream machine I gave my sister a taste of it. She exclaimed “WHOA! That’s maybe too much basil”. I tasted it, she was right; which was exactly what I was hoping for! It was like a slap of fresh basil across your face. It was INTENSE basil flavor, sweet but not too sweet, and definitely needed to be paired with something to tame the powerful flavor. Here’s my recipe:
Basil Sorbet (can be doubled)
¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
½ cup sugar
¾ cup water
2 TB honey
zest of ½ a lemon
juice of ½ a lemon
Heat the sugar and water over medium high heat, just enough to melt the sugar. Cool to room temp.
Meanwhile, combine the basil leaves, honey, lemon zest and lemon juice in a blender. Once the sugar syrup is cool, add to the blender and puree the mixture until it is completely smooth. Strain to catch any stray clumps and then chill until you are ready to churn in your ice cream machine.
I paired the sorbet with a stack of mozzarella and tomato slices. I threw some prosciutto in there as well, sprinkled the mass with fleur de sel and black pepper, and then drizzled a little olive oil over it. A bite of that was pure bliss and caused the dancing childish behavior I described above. It is definitely worth trying yourself! For other savory serving options, try it on top of a bowl of spicy gazpacho, or a chilled avocado soup.
But wait, Basil Sorbet doesn’t have to be just with savory dishes. I came up with some other ideas to serve it: tomato tart tatin (that would be a cross between sweet and savory I suppose), or with grilled peaches and pound cake, or scooped on top of a lemon scented chocolate soufflé cake.
Perhaps enjoy it in drinks: scooped on top of a strawberry-basil daiquiri, or make some sort of gin float out of it. (I have very little knowledge of mixed drinks. If anyone has a suggestion, please tell me.)
Even for lunch today I had it scooped on top of my lemon yogurt. It was surprisingly good! So, the possibilities are endless really. You just have to try it.