If you're a long time reader or good customer at the restaurant, you won't find it very surprising that I have a hard time with recipes and trying to record art as a scientific process. A case in point. What exactly do you use when a recipe calls for something as straightforward as basil?
At first glance, basil is basil, no? Well, no, not really. For example, this summer, we have had at least 9 or 10 different cultivars of basil to play with in our kitchen. Each has a unique flavor that bears experimenting with. Here is a photo of a few organic basils that came in last week, from bottom left, clockwise, ending in the center (click on photo to see labels): Thai basil, Genovese basil, Globe basil, Holy basil, and Opal basil.
Now, don't go burning your cookbooks because of this post: almost all basils are interchangeable. Go to a farmers market and try some different ones!