>> Sweet green basil is the traditional favorite, but try other delicious varieties, including lemon, cinnamon, licorice, and purple basils.
>> Buy even-colored, fresh leaves, without any blackening. To store, place stems in a glass with an inch of water; cover with plastic and refrigerate.
>> Layer fresh basil with mozzarella and tomato slices; drizzle with fruity olive oil.
>> Add crushed fresh basil leaves to iced tea or smoothies.
>> Blend any type of fresh basil with butter, garlic, and Parmesan; smear on corn cobs or dab on steamed vegetables.
>> To preserve whole leaves without drying (which destroys flavor), blanch in boiling water for a few seconds, cold rinse, pat dry, and freeze.
>> This antibacterial and anti-inflammatory herb is also a surprising source of iron, calcium, and vitamin A.

—E.B.

Mahimahi with Basil-Pistachio Pesto
Serves 6

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts
1 cup packed basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
6 small mahimahi or Alaskan halibut fillets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Olive oil cooking spray
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Combine first seven ingredients (pistachio nuts through salt) in a food processor; process on low until well mixed and nearly puréed. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. (Makes 1 cup; can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen.)

2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Lightly coat fish fillets with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, about 4–6 minutes on each side. Top each fillet with 1 tablespoon pistachio pesto and garnish with lemon.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 149 calories
% fat calories: 33
Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 84mg
Protein: 23g
Carbohydrate: 2g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 111mg

James Rouse, ND, and Debra Rouse, ND