French Pistou Sauce in Honor of Julia Child (another option for freezing fresh basil)
French Pistou Sauce in honor of Julia Child is another delicious way to freeze fresh basil, and you’ll love pulling this out of the freezer!
For years I’ve been freezing fresh basil, and I’ve also used my garden basil to make basil pesto for the freezer. This year though, buzz about Julia Child, the upcoming movie of Julie and Julia, and thoughts of Soupe au Pistou inspired me to use my first basil pickings for French pistou sauce instead.
What’s the difference between pesto and pistou? A little quick research turned up many variations of Pistou. Some recipes include tomatoes, parsley, or other herbs, and Pistou may or may not have cheese. Most times though Pistou doesn’t contain nuts, and Pistou usually has more garlic in proportion to basil than pesto does. Pesto and Pistou are both best made to your own taste anyway, so here’s my version of Pistou, which I’m looking forward to drizzling on soup next winter.
This is a medium-sized colander, but as you can see, I have rather a lot of basil. When you trim the basil, cut through the stems, being careful to leave some leaves on the stem to produce new plant growth. Pull or snip the leaves from the stems and wash in a salad spinner or wash in the sink and dry with paper towels. (I like to snip the leaves, because the basil turns your fingers black!) Put the washed and dried basil leaves in the food processor with the garlic and salt and process until finely chopped. Then add the olive oil and pulse just a few times to combine. You can also remove the chopped basil from the food processor and stir in the olive oil. I might do that next time, because if you over-process with the oil added, it gives the Pistou a cloudy “emulsified” look.
I made quite a few batches of Pistou from the basil I picked, and froze it in 1/2 cup servings, which seemed to me like about the right amount to add to soup or mix into basil vinaigrette. I got 8 half-cup containers of Pistou from the basil I trimmed from my plants. After I filled the containers, I drizzled a little olive oil over the top of each to keep the basil from turning dark in the freezer. Just mix this oil into the Pistou when it’s thawed.
I recommend putting a label and the date on things you put in the freezer, even if you’re “sure” you will remember what it is! Have you ever made Pistou? If so, we’d love to hear about your Pistou recipes or ideas for using pistou in the comments.
French Pistou Sauce in Honor of Julia Child (Fresh Basil, Garlic, and Olive Oil Sauce)
French Pistou Sauce in honor of Julia Child is another delicious way to freeze fresh basil.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (very firmly packed into measuring cup)
- 3 T chopped fresh garlic (or use garlic puree from a jar, although Julia would probably not approve)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp.)
- Wash and dry basil leaves and put in food processor. (This sauce can also be made with in small batches in a mortar and pestle if you’re feeling ambitious.)
- Add garlic and salt and process until basil is finely chopped (close to a minute, depending on your food processor.)
- Add oil and process only a few pulses (or remove the chopped basil to a bowl and stir in the oil, which is what I would do if I was only making one batch.)
- Place pistou into individual freezer-proof plastic containers with a tight lid.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of the pistou in each container.
Adapted slightly from a blog that’s no longer online, with a peek at my one lonely Julia Child Cookbook!All images and text ©
Some Recipes Where I’d Use My Basil Pistou:
Roasted Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Holiday Spread
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes
Basil Vinaigrette for Drizzling on Tomatoes
Summer Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil Vinaigrette, and Fresh Herbs
Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil
Julia Child’s Pistou Online:
Soupe au Pistou from The Blog That Ate Manhattan
Soupe au Pistou from One Perfect Bite
Soupe au Pistou from Cooking in Color
Vegetable Soup Provencal from Ms. Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour
Chunky Pistou Soup from Dhangitt’s Kitchen
Provencal Soupe au Pistou from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen