Tonight: Basil

A beautiful bush of basil is growing rampant in my garden.

To stop it from going to seed I’ve been pinching out the heads each day.  The constant supply of basil leaves has called for a lot of spur of the moment basil creations. I’ve been wanting to bake basil with chicken and lemon but struggling to work out how to do it without completely killing the intense basil aroma with the high heat of  the oven. So I decided to experiment today and see what resulted.

Searing chicken breasts till just browned, I sliced them open, filled them with basil leaves, strips of lemon rind and gently fried garlic slivers and closed them back up to bake them in the oven on a layer of soft onions I’d fried up earlier with the garlic. While the chicken cooked I created a basting syrup of lemon and orange juice (unfortunately my verjuice had died or I would have sloshed some in), olive oil, sweet orange marmalade and lemon and orange rind. It made a nice shiny glaze after a few applications.

The basil seemed protected enough inside the chicken that it didn’t fade away and with a few fresh leaves on the side it lifted the whole thing. Basil win! Just when I thought basil couldn’t get better  my house-mate mentioned she’d been out for lunch/desert and basil scented panacotta was on the menu….

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