Lettuce Basil – Perfect for SandwichesJuly 01, 2010
When summer heat kicks in, I tend to do a lot less cooking. Instead we eat a lot of cold salads and sandwiches. Even when we’re still in the cool, early weeks of a Pacific NW summer, salad goodies like lettuce, beets, carrots and radishes are abundant. And, we’re lucky to have a greenhouse where we can kick start growth of heat lovers like basil, tomatoes and cucumbers.
This year, I seeded three kinds of basil – Genovese, Fine Verde and Lettuce Leaf. All are growing strong in the greenhouse, which we don’t heat. We’ve begun pinching out tips of the Genovese, enjoying it tossed in salads or mixed with garlic-infused olive oil. The Fine Verde, which has tiny leaves that pack a spicy punch, is a little slower to produce much for harvest. But, soon we’ll have more than we know what to do with. Fortunately, the Lettuce Leaf Basil is quite the opposite of the Verde offering enormous leaves with mild basil flavor, which we’re picking now.
Lettuce leaf basil is a fantastic one to grow for sandwiches. Because the flavor is mild and the leaf form is huge, just a few leaves can fill out even a large sandwich quickly. It adds the texture of leaf lettuce while packing a tasty basil punch to brighten up your sandwich flavors.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy Basil lettuce is on this simple modified caprese sandwich:
Lettuce Leaf Basil Caprese Sandwich
- 1 baguette, divided in half, sliced and toasted lightly
- 6-8 leaves lettuce leaf basil
- mild chevre goat cheese
- fresh tomato, thinly sliced
- olive oil infused with crushed garlic (or garlic scapes)
- fresh ground pepper
Brush toasted baguette lightly with garlic-infused olive oil. Spread one side of toast with thin layer of chevre. Top with sliced tomatoes, a grind of fresh pepper and a single layer of lettuce leaf basil. Slice. Eat!
(Modifications: Omit chevre and replace with slices of brie and thin slivers of sweet red onion. Place briefly under broiler to melt brie. Top with tomato and basil.)