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The Little Black Dress of Ingredients

Throughout the history of fashion, the little black dress has become known as the essential staple in every woman’s closet. And when it comes to the Carmine’s menu, we have a staple of our own.

So what is this dress-me-up, dress-me-down, night or day ingredient we can’t live without?

It’s basil. 

The basil plant is one of the most widely known and grown herbs in the world. Often associated with Mediterranean cooking, basil is native to India, Asia and parts of Africa. As a member of the mint family, basil has antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and offers a healthy dose of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese and magnesium. It’s no wonder we use it in so much of our cooking!

One of our favorite basil-touting recipes at Carmine’s is homemade gnocchi. Served in roasted pomodora sauce with kalamata olives, we toss in torn basil to maximize the dish’s flavor. We also slide some basil in our seafood dishes and use it to enliven our Panzanella (bread salad).

Basil is also the main ingredient in pesto – a mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Pesto appears in many places on our menu, and even just a small amount can take a dish to the next level.

Of course, we don’t limit our use of basil to food. Our new specialty cocktail, the Carmine’s Cooler, is a blend of Cruzan Light Rum, Tommasi Prosecco and fresh-squeezed lime, made perfectly refreshing thanks to muddled basil.

This summer, we encourage you to discover new ways to use basil in your own cooking (or drinking!) at home. And the next time you come in to Carmine’s, we promise there will be plenty of basil to go around.