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Fried Basil at the Cookout

BY TOM YATE

Apparently, I’ll fry anything.

We finally grilled out the other night: succulent fall-off-the-bones baby back ribs, rubbed, grilled, and sauced with the perfect ratio of vinegar to molasses for a tangy sweet sauce. Sticky sweet and mouth   popping tart.  The ribs were exceptional, especiafood1lly when paired with candied bacon baked beans. Pork with pork. Pork on pork.  It couldn’t get any better.

We had market corn lounging in the vegetable bin….waiting for the grill. Still fresh and tightly husked, it begged for fire. We’ve  had corn every which way but loose this summer; steamed, boiled, creamed, chowdered, grilled bacon-wrapped, buttered with zested lime salt, and deep fried on the cob.

I wanted something different. Really different.

I grilled Silver Queen corn alongside the ribs with grape tomato skewers until they were slightly charred and caramelized. While still hot from the grill, I slathered the grilledcorn with butter and showered it with sea salt, pepper, tons of nutty parmesan reggiano, and crumbled deep fried basil.

Deep fried basil? Yep.

I have fried everything this summer. Why not basil?  Flash frying the basil transformed it into beautiful stained-glass crispy leaves.

Not quite fresh, but certainly not dried, it retained a slight fresh basil anise flavor with crisp boldness.  The broken fried basil stuck to the buttered cornlike decoupage without the rub down, which ensured its staying power during our animalistic gnawing and manhandling of it.  Nutty. Sweet. Salty. Buttery. Basil-y.

Slippery finger food.  Barbecued pork lips and buttered basil fingers.

Now, that’s a cookout!
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