Fun Fact: Basil is part of the mint family.
Basil's broad, flat leaves can be chopped, chiffonaded, puréed, or left whole to impart a slightly tangy and often sweet flavor to a variety of dishes. Leaves are usually added at the very end of the cooking process to keep them fresh and crisp. Basil does not lend itself to prolonged heat, as it will turn dark and taste rather bitter.
When paired with sweeter elements, such as chocolate, basil tastes minty with a slight coolness on the tongue. Some say it tastes like anise or licorice. In many Asian dishes, basil and mint complement each other, providing a bright and surprising crunch to dippable items like Vietnamese spring rolls.
An Italian Caprese salad includes thick-sliced mozzarella and tomato, drizzles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and a few larges basil leaves. The mellow cheese and tomato let the bite of basil and vinegar shine in a combination that is perfect all summer long.