‘Basil’ comes from the Greek word Vasilias, meaning King.
There are over 60 types of basil, including purple varieties that taste of lemon, anise, clove and cinnamon .
But that’s not all – tea, made from basil leaves, helps digestion and a pot of basil in the kitchen is said to keep flies away.
I lived in Cyprus for over 12 years and nearly every house I visited had a pot of Holy Basil , a small, shrubby plant, sitting outside the front door, on the balcony or in the garden.
Sweet Basil, the one commonly used in cooking in the UK, has large, shiny leaves and is a native of South-East Asia. There it was valued not only for its culinary and medicinal properties but also the part it played in religious rites and even witchcraft.
Basil is usually associated with tomatoes but it can also liven up fish and chicken, soups and sauces. And, of course, it’s the main ingredient in basil pesto.
It’s also used in this quick, easy recipe:
Scallopine alla Marsala with Basil
Ingredients 0.00 (4 Servings)
- Take each slice of pork or chicken breast, place between 2 pieces of clingfilm and beat with a steak hammer (or rolling pin) until thin. Then dip them in seasoned flour and shake off any excess flour
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan
- Add the onion, pepper and mushrooms, and fry for 8 minutes or until tender. Then remove from the pan and set aside
- Add the pork or chicken to the pan and fry gently till golden (about 2 minutes)
- Return the vegetables to the pan and add the marsala wine or sweet sherry
- Add the basil,salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes
- When it’s cooked, removed the meat from the pan and place on a large serving platter or dish
- Pour over the vegetables and sauce and garnish with a few small basil leaves
- Serve with creamy mashed potatoes