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Why do some people say that it is not advisable to cook basil?

Basil is a fragile herb which suffers some loss of flavor when subjected to heat or drying. In most recipes, you can minimize the loss of flavor by adding basil near the end of the cooking time. However, it is most flavorful when used fresh, or as a garnish added after cooking, as in the recipe for Grilled Vegetable Salad below. The salad is served at room temperature, and is delicious as a starter with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing.

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Basil Recipe
Serves: 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 eggplant
1 head fennel
2 red onions
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
To garnish: 6-8 leaves basil

Preheat the grill for 10 minutes. Quarter the peppers and scrape out the seeds. Put the wedges under the grill, skin side up, until the skins have blackened and blistered evenly all over. Let them cool slightly, peel off the skin then set aside. Cut the eggplant lengthways in 1 cm slices, leaving the skin on, and brush with olive oil. Grill until golden brown, turning once. Drain on kitchen paper towels.

Cut the fennel lengthways in 1 cm slices. Brush one side with oil and grill until colored, then oil the other side and grill that. Peel the onions, cut each one into four wedges and brush with oil. Grill until soft and well browned. Arrange all the vegetables on a flat dish and scatter the chopped garlic over them, then season with salt and plenty of pepper. Mix the oil and vinegar together and spoon over. If the basil leaves are small, tuck them among the vegetables. If large, tear them in pieces and scatter on top.

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