Fresh Basil tends to be infested with aphids, thrips and other insects. Please check “Special Instructions” below for instructions on checking fresh basil for insect infestation.
1/2 small baguette (about 12 inches long)
1 large garlic clove, mashed
Olive oil for brushing
6 medium to large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1/2 medium onion chopped
3 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 300. Split the baguette lengthwise. Rub the cut side of one half very well with the mashed garlic. Brush liberally with olive oil. Cut the garlicked half in half again lengthwise, and then cut these strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Place the croutons on a baking sheet, crust side down. Bake 30 minutes, until dark golden. Put the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl a bit before you intend to mix the salad, then drain off and discard any juice that may accumulate.
To serve, add the croutons, onion, and basil to the tomatoes. In a separate bowl combine the vinegar and oil. Whisk together and pour over the salad. Toss to combine.
Fresh Herbs and Insect Infestation:
Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Recommendation: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found, proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs, it should not be used.
1. Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
2. Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
3. Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
4. Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
5. If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
6. If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.