Got basil? This time of year, it’s hard not to. Especially in my garden. Even though I have scaled back my basil emporium to only six plants (one year I had seventeen!), it still starts growing fast and furious this time of year.
Here’s a great way to cut it into thin ribbons (called a “chiffonade” and pronounced “shiffon-odd”) for a beautiful presentation. And now you have a cool new word to throw around at dinner parties. “Let me just add a chiffonade of basil to that dish…”
Start by stacking several basil leaves on top of each other. It works best if the leaves are roughly the same size, but it’s not essential. Place the smaller leaves on top, if using different sizes.
Now roll the leaves tightly into a tube. Think of it like rolling a basil cigarette, but no, don’t smoke it. (Or anything else. Smoking anything is bad for you.)
Using a small knife, cut across the tube, slicing the basil roll into very thin strips. Do not slice your fingers at the end, as I have been known to do.
When finished, you’ll have a pile of thin ribbons of basil. Repeat with as much basil as you need, or with as much as your neighbor insisted on sending home with you. (Yes, I am that neighbor. Forgive me.)
Separate the ribbons with your fingers and use them as a lovely garnish in just about anything — especially bruschetta. Enjoy!
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