There's a saying among gardeners that if you curse basil when planting it, you'll get bunch after bunch of the delicious, sweet herb. And it must work: My garden is a pungent sea of green. When I think about summer, I'm not plotting an exotic vacation; I'm planning what I'm going to eat--specifically what I'm going to do with all that basil.
It's pretty straightforward, really Basil's best friend is the tomato. I use them together in every way possible--in salads, bruschetta, sauces, or as a plain pair. Basil also goes into some of my favorite dishes: pesto (see year-round strategy below), risotto, shrimp scampi, potato pancakes, and icy lemon granita--an exotic touch to make up for that vacation I won't be taking.
Even if you don't have basil plants burgeoning in your backyard, the aromatic bouquets available in practically every farmers' market and grocery store, and the recipes here, are reason enough to make this a basil summer.
An all-time favorite home for basil is in pesto. Those in the know make up a large batch and freeze it in ice cube trays. When it's firm, you …