Courgette cream with red mullet
Grow your own basil to add flavour to your summer cooking, with tips from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. Packed with flavour, we’ve got the perfect one-pan recipe to use your basil in, from the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2023.
In the warmer months, basil is the perfect addition to your windowsill or vegetable patch, and packs fantastic flavours for summer dishes.
Read on below for tips on growing basil from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine and to find out more about a delicious one-pan lemon sole recipe, using your basil, from the BBC Good Food Show Summer in 2022.
- Sow basil seed from spring to summer so you have a continuous crop. Sow in containers for a lasting crop
- Grow in well-drained, fertile soil in a warm, sheltered position
- Start seedlings off in pots on a warm, but not sunny windowsill. Pot on into individual pots when plants are big enough to handle.
- Help your basil acclimatise to conditions outdoors by standing them outside in a sheltered spot and bring them back in at night.
Caring for basil
Outdoors, basil needs protection from wind and frost. Always water with care, ideally before midday, and avoid splashing the leaves. Water sparingly – basil hates to sit in wet compost!
Expect to pot up your basil a few times in the growing season as plants grow fast in containers.
Basil is a half-hardy annual, so new plants will be needed each year.
Pick the leaves and tops of basil regularly throughout the summer to use fresh. You can be quite ruthless, so long as you leave at least three pairs of side shoots so your plants can regrow. Don’t wash the leaves until you’re ready to use them as they’ll turn slimy.
Courgette cream with red mullet
This recipe is from the BBC Good Food Show Summer 2023, as seen in the Big Kitchen.
- Unsalted Butter
- 600g courgettes, chopped into small pieces (leave a couple whole)
- 1 white onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp madras curry powder
- handful of basil leaves
- olive oil
- 4 small red mullet (200g-300g each), filleted but with skin on
For the curry oil
- 3 tbsp madras curry powder
- 1 litre olive oil
- First prepare the curry oil. Heat the curry powder carefully in a dry pan for 5 minutes to release the oils and flavour. Add the oil and heat to 40°C (tepid in temperature if no thermometer to hand), then cover and leave to cool. After 24 hours, pour the oil through a muslin cloth, then store in a bottle in a cool dark place.
- Wash and dice all but a couple of courgettes, slice the onion and crush the garlic cloves.
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pan and sweat the vegetables for 5 mins.
Add 2 tsp curry powder and cook for a further 5 mins. Pour in 800ml boiling water, season and simmer for 10 mins, then add the basil leaves and blitz in a food processor until smooth. Keep the mixture warm until you are ready to serve.
- Cut the remaining courgettes into thin ribbons on a mandolin or into fine strips. Cook these gently in a little butter in a griddle pan for a minute or so, then season and keep warm.
- Check that all the pin bones have been removed from the red mullet fillets, then season them lightly and smear them with olive oil. Heat a non-stick frying pan and cook the mullet for 3 minutes on each side, until just tender
- Serve a bed of courgette cream onto each plate and add some ribbons, or strips of courgette. Place the fish on top and drizzle with the curry-infused olive oil.