It’s that time of year. All of us basil growers are all staring at these plants like, “you’re going to be pesto soon if I can’t come up with something else.”
I have a number of really great (non-pesto) recipes for basil in my back pocket—at least one of which should be up here soon—but in the meantime this is a great use for basil that’s not so off the beaten pesto-path without being so mundanely soul-sucking that you don’t feel guilty for reducing those poor plants to the most basic product.
This chicken sandwich—and just no ordinary chicken sandwich—is delicious, in part due to the basil mayonnaise that’s slathered inside of it. There’s about 24-hour lead time on starting the basil mayo to finished product but don’t confuse this with time consuming or difficult work. Fresh basil is steeped in oil for 24 hours before being strained out and the oil then slowly streamed into the lemony, garlicy, egg base of a typical mayo. Using an immersion blender helps make this even easier on you (though if you don’t have one, don’t worry… using a standup or hand mixer with a whisk attachment on a medium-high speed will work, as will a high powered blender or food processor, though the latter two can be cumbersome with a smaller quantity like this).
Basil elevates chicken, even the best of one, to near perfection especially when it’s in the vehicle of a fatty mayo. Frankly, I’m happy enough here slathering the bread with this mayo, stuffing in some chicken and mootz and hiding away from the world while I devour an entire baguette full alone in my room. I’m told that’s now how adults do things, and that vegetables are good for you. For that reason not only do I (sometimes) share this, but I also throw in some arugula and roasted red peppers to spruce it up a bit. I personally like tomatoes (the baby ones) because I’m a sucker for a tomato sandwich—can you imagine one with basil mayo!?!—and this way I have basil mayo, tomatoes, and bread in the house at the same time so I can make that possible under the quiet of night when nobody is looking.
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