Friday, July 14, 2006

When Life Gives You Thai Basil . . .

. . . make Thai pizza!

Holy basil! My siam queen basil really took off this year, even while my italian basil sulked. Before I knew it flowers were threatening to bud. Time for a hair cut and dinner of a thai persuasion.

While Thai green curry is one of my favorite dishes of all time, it does take some preparation and a few exotic ingredients (galangala, for instance). My other favorite use for Thai basil is Thai pizza. Due to nature's abundance, I skewed my recipe a bit and was delighted with the result. The peanut sauce I used is the same one on the California Pizza Kitchen's Thai Chicken Pizza. I wouldn't exactly call it health food, but in my opinion it is the best recipe for peanut sauce that I have yet encountered.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons raosted sesame oil
2 teaspooons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Vietnamese chili sauce
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons water

Add all your ingredients into a sauce pan and heat until smooth.

Thai Pizza
pizza dough for one pizza, shaped into crust form (or pre-prepared crust)
1/4 cup spicy peanut sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 scallions, slivered diagonally
1 carrot, shredded
2-4 Tablespoons roasted peanuts, minced
1/4 cup (at least) thai basil, loosely packed

Spread sauce evenly on pizza dough, avoiding the crust around the edge. Then spread the cheese, scallions, carrots and peanuts evenly over the sauce. Bake at 450ยบ F for about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile chiffonade your basil. Once the pizza crust is golden and the cheese melted, remove your pizza from the oven and sprinkle the top with your basil leaves.

There is nothing quite like fresh home-grown Thai basil. I have never eatten so much fresh Thai basil in one sitting before, and I was impressed that it imparted a very noticable cinnamon taste to the pizza. The Thai basil you can buy in the grocery store is not the same.


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