You know what’s amazing in the summer? Fresh basil! I swear I could have it on everything.
Despite how delicious it is I rarely like to bite into a full basil leaf, it tends to blow your tastebuds. For me, basil is best enjoyed in small bursts. That’s why the chiffonade is my favorite way to chop it up.
I have to give Rachael Ray the credit here. I think she’s responsible for bringing this relatively easy, yet seemingly fancy, technique to everyday cooks. I first heard about chiffonading on 30 Minute Meals and it’s how I’ve been cutting basil ever since. There are plenty of other excellent tutorials out there, but here’s mine.
First I remove all edible looking basil leaves from the stems, rinse them in a colander, give them a shake, and then lay them out to dry on some paper towels. I pat them dry a little bit too if they are really wet.
Once I have a bunch of dry leaves, I stack my basil in little piles (6-10 leaves each).
You then want to roll up your basil pile really tight. Place the edge of a sharp knife on the end and, in thin, short slices, cut inward. Watch your fingers here! Keep your knife strokes short and swift. You should end up with a pile of lovely looking basil ribbons.
A Note About Storing/Preserving Basil:
I often have an immediate usage in mind (meatballs, pizza, herbed cheese, soup) but none that usually require the whole bunch of basil. I put the leftover basil in a plastic ziptop bag, press out all the air, and store in the freezer. When it’s ready to use I just break off a little handful at a time. It’s keeps it’s color and flavor in the freezer. I’d imagine it would be good for a few weeks in there but it never lasts that long in our house.