There was a time when I worked for a company that ran the cafeteria for the residents students at local university. Amongst poor hygiene, subpar food, and dangerously apathetic management; follow through was a big problem. I don’t want to get sued, so I won’t say anything specific, but if you take a look down at the sources in footer, I linked to reviews, and a news report about the company. It speaks for itself.
Anyway, I bring this up for a specific reason. One day our nutritionist came up to me, put her hands out and asked me to smell. Me being up for an adventure, complied. They smelled sweet, complex, and wonderful. ‘Basil’ she said. ‘I just pruned some Basil from our herb garden, so now we have a lot of it, and we need to find a recipe, do you have any ideas?’
I remember that being the first time I had been asked for my advice for something to put on the menu. I was so excited! I said the first thing that came to my head ‘fruit salad, with melons.’ She thought about it, and said ‘yes!’ she then continued to pull all the management and chefs aside to let them know about my idea, and how it had to get made, and to make sure I got to do it. It felt really awesome, but it never happened.
I have wondered about how I would have made that fruit salad a few times since then, so I figured instead of just thinking about it, I’d actually do it!
We are approaching July, and with BBQ season roaring, I figured this might the perfect side dish. The kind people don’t see often, but instantly love.
So here is what we are going to need:
- 2T of Dried sweet Basil
- 7G of Fresh Basil
- 3 points from a Star Anis
- 1C white Vinegar
- 1C Apple Cider Vinegar
Dressing for Salad:
- 1/3C Infused Vinegar
- 4T Maple Syrup
- 2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1t Sesame Seeds
- 4 Basil Leafs
Melon Ball Salad:
- 1/2 Watermelon
- 1/2 Honeydew Melon, Seeded
For this recipe we are making an infused vinegar. You can use this recipe with any dried or fresh herb mixture. The recipe shows you how to make two cups, though you won’t need that much. This vinegar will keep indefinitely, and has a lot of great future applications. The other great think about this, is it’s a great way to use up herbs that are starting to wilt. You will need more of the wilted herbs to get the same effect, but at least you’re not throwing them away. The final product was a little too strong for me, so next time make this, I will cut the quantity of dried basil in half.
- Put your dried basil in a 325 degree convection oven (or 350 non convection) on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until Basil becomes fragrant.
- Once basil is out of the oven, place the dried basil, and Star Anis tips into a pot with both of your vinegars.
- Put your pot on medium low heat, and using a thermometer, bring the vinegar up to 130 degrees.
- Put the fresh basil in a bowl or Tupperware, then poor the vinegar mixture on top. Once the vinegar has cooled, put a lid on the bowl/Tupperware and place into the fridge for at least 18 hours, or up to 36 hours.
- Strain mixture into clean storage container, and discard all herbs.
- Store in the fridge until needed.
Next we have to make the dressing. The final product is a bit tart, which is perfect because its going on top of very sweet melons, so it balances out nicely.
- Put half of the Sesame seeds in a dry frying pan set to medium high heat.
- Occasionally move them around until they turn a nice dark brown, then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Whisk together the Vinegar and Maple Syrup, then slowly add the Olive Oil.
- Mix in the both the toasted and non toasted Sesame seeds.
Finally the final product:
- Roll the Basil into a roll, and thinly slice them into a chiffonade.
- Using a mellon baller, ball the the Watermelon and Honeydew and put the balled mellon chunks into a bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing on top of Melon Balls, and then portion into serving bowels, garnish with Basil and Kosher Salt.
- Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
Company That ran the Dinning servines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE85sJLSeSQ
Google Reviews: https://goo.gl/MLWLeU