Does basil fit for fish

I catch a lot of Pacific rock cod, a basslike fish similar to an Atlantic black seabass, or a small snapper or a freshwater bass. Largely because I love a good whole, grilled fish.

Why? All bass-like fishes have huge heads for their size, and big, round rib cages. This means you get a paltry yield off them if you try to fillet the fish, unless they are very large. Fish I’ll normally cook whole include: largemouth and smallmouth bass, black seabass, porgies, small carp, small snapper, freshwater drum, croakers, spotted sea trout, yellow perch, pompano, triggerfish, etc.

If the fish are small enough to fit into a wok, I crispy fry them, Asian style. But summer is for grilling.

First I slice the fish several times perpendicular to the backbone — this opens the fish to heat better, so it cooks evenly — then I coat them in olive oil and salt, then, after the fish are grilled, sauce them with an herb vinaigrette. I have a recipe for this method, using porgies and oregano oil, in my first cookbook, Hunt, Gather, Cook.

Photos by Holly A. Heyser

Sometimes I stick with just salt, pepper and lemon, sometimes I use that oregano oil. Sometimes I season the fish with a basil vinaigrette I developed with my friend Elise over at Simply Recipes. Why basil? because in summer, basil feels right. You could use any herb you want.

Or leave the sauce out completely.


Grilling a whole fish is not difficult, but there are a few tricks to doing it without having the fish stuck to your grill grates. Any whole fish will do, but you generally want them single-serving size, about 9 to 14 inches long. Make sure they are well coated in oil, well salted and make sure your grill is nice and hot, and you will be fine. Here’s the recipe for the basil vinaigrette. 

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Serves: 4 people

Author: Hank Shaw

  • 2 whole fish, scaled, gutted and with gills removed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 recipe basil vinaigrette
  1. Wash the fish well and make 3-5 slashes in the meat perpendicular to the backbone on each side of the fish. You are doing this to open the interior of the fish to the heat, so it will cook evenly. Make more slashes closer to the head, where the fish is thicker, than toward the tail, which cook first. Snip off any sharp fins with kitchen shears or scissors. Leave the tail, as it will crisp up and taste wonderfully nutty. Seriously. Try it.

  2. Coat the fish with olive oil and salt it a little more than you think you ought to; salty fish tastes good!

  3. Get your grill crazy hot, at least 500°F, and scrape the grill grates well to clean them. When you are ready to lay the fish down, dip a paper towel in some oil and grab it with tongs. Wipe down the grill with the oily towel and them immediately lay the fish down on the grill grates. Let them sizzle nicely for a minute or so.

  4. Turn the heat down to medium and cover the grill if you have a gas grill, or just leave the fish on the open grill if you are using wood or charcoal and the grill is very hot. Let the fish cook for a total of 5-6 minutes on this side, depending on how thick it is. A general rule is a fish will need 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

  5. To turn the fish, have your tongs in your “off” hand and a big spatula in your good hand. Gently turn the fish over. It should come off the grates cleanly. If not, don’t force it. Let the fish back down and come back at it with the spatula, using pressure to pry it off the grates. You don’t want to pull the fish away from the grates and have half the skin and meat stick to the grill. Once the fish is flipped, let it cook for another 5-6 minutes.

  6. Once the fish is ready — check by making sure the meat closest to the bone in the slash that is closest to the head of the fish is fully cooked — put it on a platter and drizzle the vinaigrette over it. Enjoy!

One last thing: Make sure your fish are scaled, gutted and have their gills removed — you don’t want to eat scales, and gills can make the fish taste bitter, so cut them out with kitchen shears. Watch out! They are sharp.

More Fish Recipes

Browse through dozens of other recipes for both freshwater and saltwater fish, right here on Hunter Angler Gardener Cook!

Read More

Recent research suggests that basil can help fight bacteria, viruses, and chronic diseases. And you thought it was just for pesto!

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), an aromatic herb belonging to the mint family, is perhaps best known as the key ingredient in pesto – that savoury Italian sauce made from olive oil, garlic, crushed pine nuts and loads of fresh basil leaves.

The type of basil used in Mediterranean cooking – Italian large-leaf – pairs well with tomato flavours and consequently appears in a wide range of dishes from Caprese salad to marinara sauce. Other common basil varieties like sweet, lemon, Thai and holy basil are used judiciously in Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine.

There are more than 40 cultivars of this pungent plant, each with its own characteristic colour and aroma. Depending on the variety, basil can be green, white or purple with a scent reminiscent of lemon, cloves, cinnamon, anise, camphor or thyme. Some non-edible kinds are cultivated for ornamental purposes or to ward off garden pests.

But it is basil’s medicinal properties, rather than its culinary value, that extend the herb’s uses far beyond the humble pesto. Like other aromatic plants, basil contains essential oils and phytochemicals in the leaves, stem, flowers, roots and seeds that have biological activity in the body.

Throughout history, ancient cultures have used herbal remedies to prevent and treat illness and disease. Basil is just one example of the wide range of medicinal flora historically used in plant-based tinctures, compresses, syrups and ointments.

For instance, holy basil (known as tulsi in Hindi) has been used for centuries in Ayurveda, a traditional Indian system of medicine, as a treatment for gastric, hepatic, respiratory and inflammatory disorders as well as a remedy for headache, fever, anxiety, convulsions, nausea and hypertension. (See Kyra de Vreeze’s article “Holy… Tulsi!”, elsewhere in this issue.)

Fresh roots and leaves of holy basil were prepared as a tea, or sometimes as a topical treatment to speed wound healing. There is also evidence that traditional Chinese medicine used basil. (See Paul O’Brien’s article on TCM and basil, elsewhere in this issue.)

Even though basil has been used therapeutically for many years, are its healing properties simply hearsay or have the herb’s health effects been substantiated by modern science?

From Lab to Lunch: The Benefits of Basil

Read this full colour PDF, straight out of the pages of Spezzatino magazine. Articles like this are the hallmark of Spezzatino Magazine, a food magazine in which all of the proceeds go directly to the Healthy Food Bank charity.In other words, a subscription to Spezzatino means that not only you eat better, someone else in your community does too.

From garden to medicine chest

In recent years increased scientific interest in plant phytochemicals (plant chemicals) has brought numerous vegetables, herbs and spices – including basil – to the forefront of nutritional research. Although the study of plant compounds is not new, scientists are only now beginning to characterize the wide range of biologically active components in our food plants and investigate their impact on human health and disease.

In cell culture and animal studies basil has been found to exhibit antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antioxidant and anti-cancer activity. But how does basil – which nowadays is used as little more than a cooking herb – defend our bodies against chronic disease and illness?

Antimicrobial properties

The first clue suggesting that basil is more than just a garnish is its pungent scent and strong flavour. The volatile chemical compounds responsible for these appealing culinary characteristics also play a role in its biochemical activity.

Volatile compounds are light-weight, organic compounds that give herbs and other plants their potent aroma. In aromatic herbs such as basil these compounds are found in the form of essential oils, complex molecules that differ in chemical structure from plant to plant. By definition, volatile essential oils are hydrophobic (non-water-soluble) in nature and light enough to travel through the air as small droplets (vapour) to our olfactory system, where they stimulate our sense of smell.

Basil contains dozens of aromatic essential oil components in its leaves that vary in quantity and proportion depending on the cultivar . These include eugenol, linalool, estragole, limonene, citral, methylchavicol, and methyl cinnamate. The more distinctly scented varieties boast a predominant volatile compound that out-competes the rest, producing a characteristic aroma.

Lemon basil, for instance, contains mainly citral and limonene, while camphor basil has high concentrations of – you guessed it – camphor. Italian large-leaf basil, the kind we associate with the traditional basil smell, acquires its odour from a combination of linalool and methyl chavicol.

In nature these compounds defend the herb from hungry insects and invasive bacteria and fungi. It is no surprise, then, that they can help protect us.

In cell culture studies, basil essential oils have demonstrated potent antimicrobial activity, likely inhibiting bacterial growth by degrading bacterial cell walls and inducing cell lysis (bursting). Extracts of linalool, methyl chavicol and methyl cinnamate, a derivative of cinnamic acid which gives cinnamon its flavour and aroma, among others, inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Shigella species, Salmonella species, Mycobacterium species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  Pathogenic strains of these bacteria can cause illnesses like food poisoning, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and dysentery.

Basil is also a known antiviral, antifungal and insecticidal agent.


Another way basil can benefit health is through its anti-inflammatory activity.

Acute inflammation is a normal, protective process that helps the body to cope with infections, immune reactions and tissue injury. But in some cases inflammation occurs chronically and systemically (affecting the whole body), which can be detrimental to health. This is not only important for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but also for cancer and cardiovascular disease which involve inflammatory processes.

Most anti-inflammatory drugs are derived from plants, so it is not surprising that an herb like basil, which has been used for centuries to treat inflammatory disorders, possesses similar properties. Basil extracts reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (like TNF-• and IL-1-•) and mediators (most importantly nitric oxide).

Cytokines are proteins that are secreted from one cell in our bodies to another, allowing for direct cell-to-cell communication. Specific cytokines help initiate and regulate the inflammatory process. Similarly, nitric oxide, a chemical involved in various cell signalling reactions, helps orchestrate numerous steps in the inflammatory cascade. Thus, blocking the action of these two kinds of substances means blocking the communication and/or orchestration of inflammatory processes.

Disruption of this cascade can be useful in treating inflammatory diseases. This is a promising finding in the case of basil and other dietary herbs. Although these results are hopeful, more human-level research is needed before any solid recommendations can be made for the use of basil as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Basil extracts may also influence the development of two other major diseases currently affecting an enormous proportion of North Americans: diabetes and heart disease. Basil essential oils have been shown to lower blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Each of these has tremendous clinical implications.

Glucose, the main nutrient used by cells, is obtained from the digestive breakdown of food and is delivered to cells through the bloodstream. The pancreas secretes a crucial player involved in glucose delivery – insulin – to help regulate this movement of glucose into cells. Insulin’s primary job is to transport glucose into cells so that it can be used or stored.

When blood glucose is high, the sugar itself can damage the body; in addition, the body keeps releasing insulin in an attempt to control blood sugar levels. Both high blood sugar and high insulin can do damage.

High blood glucose is a marker for diabetes, a chronic disease characterized by an impaired ability to produce or utilize insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent than type 1; type 2 diabetics can manage their condition through medication and, more importantly, through dietary and lifestyle modifications. With all of these lifestyle diseases, it’s important to keep circulating glucose levels under control – both to prevent the harmful consequences of high blood sugar, as well as high levels of insulin as the body attempts to deal with blood glucose running amok.

This is where basil and other glucose-lowering agents come into play. Holy basil in particular has been found to reduce circulating glucose levels in both normal and diabetic laboratory animals as well as in diabetic humans. These results, particularly the evidence from human experiments, are hopeful and add credibility to the medicinal use of basil in ancient cultures. Although it is unclear which active compounds are responsible for basil’s anti-diabetic effects, researchers think its essential oils are involved.

Basil’s triglyceride- and cholesterol-lowering properties also offer promise for preventing cardiovascular disease. The combination of high circulating triglycerides (a form of fat in the blood) and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind that can clog blood vessels) are risk factors for atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. In an experiment in rats, sweet basil extracts hindered platelet aggregation (the clumping together of blood platelets to form a clot) and thrombosis (the actual formation of the blood clot), suggesting the potential for heart attack and stroke prevention. Although the research is still preliminary, basil shows therapeutic potential for cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.

Antioxidants and cancer

Of all of basil’s health-promoting attributes, its ability to inhibit cancer is the most heavily researched and probably the most interesting.  By now it is common knowledge that a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in animal-based foods contributes to a significant reduction in cancer risk. But how exactly does this occur, and where does basil fit in?

Although there is some debate, scientists generally believe antioxidants have something to do with it. In the case of basil, antioxidants (e.g. vitamins and phytochemicals) contribute to the herb’s ability to prevent cancer.

Phenolics, a group of organic compounds found in tea, herbs, fruits and vegetables, account for the majority of basil’s antioxidant properties. The predominant subtype of phenolics found in basil is the flavonoids, which include vicenin, orientin, eugenol and anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins, in particular, are responsible for the deep red-violet pigmentation of purple basils, while eugenol is a component of the essential oils. Because of their anthocyanin content, of all the cultivars purple basils pack the most antioxidant-rich punch: they contain up to 126 milligrams of total phenolics per gram of plant material, roughly half the amount found in green tea. This is notable since green tea is known to be one of the richest dietary sources of phenolic compounds.

Due to their antioxidant properties, phenolics are currently a hot topic in health research and are thought to play a large role in the anticancer effects of many edible plants.

Antioxidants work by protecting cells from damage by reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are oxygen-derived molecules generated by natural chemical reactions in the body. Although ROS are normally occurring, these molecules – if not neutralized properly – can accumulate in the body and contribute to lipid peroxidation (cell membrane damage) and DNA breakage.

DNA, formed from long strands of proteins containing genetic information, is essential for normal cell functioning. It constantly dis-assembles and re-assembles itself as part of the cells’ regular processes. Because there’s so much complicated stuff to keep track of, DNA can often mis-assemble itself in the day-to-day operation of cells, especially if it gets knocked off track by things like chemicals, radiation or these ROS. Luckily, DNA can also usually fix itself if something goes wrong.

However, more severe damage such as a strand break or compromised repair system can cause irreversible harm. When we have high circulating levels of ROS without enough antioxidants to counter them, DNA has a much harder time keeping things under control.

When this happens, the cell will often proliferate uncontrollably and resist normal cell death (apoptosis). Cells’ uncontrolled reproduction and failure to go quietly into that good night are hallmarks of tumour initiation and the early stages of cancer.

ROS are also involved in other conditions like cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders and liver disease. The good news is that dietary antioxidants are like nature’s housekeeper: they can protect us by scavenging ROS and preventing DNA damage before it starts.

Along with antioxidant phenols, basil is also a good source of antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, all of which have been shown to inhibit cancer through similar mechanisms.

Overall, basil is a promising source of antioxidants and the evidence for its anti-cancer activity is optimistic thus far. As with other supplements and natural health products, future research should be conducted to establish basil’s safety, efficacy and possible side effects. But one thing is for certain: behind basil’s unassuming leaves lies a plethora of pharmaceutical products waiting to be tapped.

How to benefit from basil

So how much basil does one have to consume to reap the health benefits?

Researchers have not established an exact amount, but it is worth noting that herbs and spices contribute significantly to the total antioxidants obtained from the diet. Basil is virtually calorie-free and, in addition to antioxidant vitamins and phenolics, is a rich source of vitamin K, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre. It adds a lot of flavour in a way that’s waistline-friendly.

Introduce basil into your meal plan by flavouring dishes with chopped fresh basil instead of cream-based sauces, cheese or salt. Add a few leaves and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette to spice up boring greens, or stick to the classic tomato-basil combo and toss in a handful of chopped basil to pasta sauce, Mediterranean-style pizza or tomato-mozzarella salad. For an Eastern flair, stir a few coarsely chopped Thai basil leaves into spicy curries, soups or stir-fries until just wilted.

If you can’t decide between dry versus fresh, opt for the latter whenever possible – much of basil’s health benefits (not to mention flavor and aroma) come from the antioxidant compounds and essential oils that are mostly lost during the drying process. Other options are basil teas and oils, which can be found in health food stores, although the scientific evidence for its efficacy in these forms is limited.

Whatever your tastes and preferences, basil can be a welcome addition to your kitchen, adding flavour and personality to dishes while providing an added health boost. And who knows – given the direction research is headed, basil may one day appear in spice racks and medicine cabinets alike. Pesto, anyone?

Spezzatino Volume 7 – Get free stuff

Brought to you by the creators of Precision Nutrition, Spezzatino Magazine is an encyclopedia of food, with each issue focusing on a single food such as: basil, grapes, wild game, tomatoes, fish, coffee, chocolate, and more.

In volume 7, which was just released, we focus on Basil.  And because you’re a PN reader, we’d like to share with you some exclusive goodies, including some free basil recipes.   So click this link to check out volume 7,  and to get your free stuff.

Learn more

To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, check out the following 5-day video courses.

They’re probably better than 90% of the seminars we’ve ever attended on the subjects of exercise and nutrition (and probably better than a few we’ve given ourselves, too).

The best part? They’re totally free.

To check out the free courses, just click one of the links below.

  • Exercise and Nutrition Crash Course for Women
  • Exercise and Nutrition Crash Course for Men

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that can affect a person for his or her lifetime. The disorder needs a lifetime full of treatment, and has no real cure. Commonly mistaken for a split-personality disorder, schizophrenia is a form of dementia that comes with a misinterpretation of the world.

People with schizophrenia may have hallucinations and a very different outlook of the world than someone without schizophrenia would.

Symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions and hallucinations, confusing and mixed up speech and thought patterns, mood swings, problems falling asleep, and lack of, or withdrawing from social situations.

While it is not possible to cure schizophrenia itself, it is possible to keep some of the symptoms from happening as often as they would without treatment. With medication, therapy, and these home remedies, you may be able to help your schizophrenia.

Top 8 Home Remedies For Schizophrenia

#1. Relax

One home remedy that schizophrenic people should keep in mind at all times is that it’s important to stay calm. When someone with this disorder gets too stressed out, the symptoms of the disorder will occur more frequently.

More delusions or other symptoms may occur. One of the best ways to avoid this is to make sure that you are calm. Do your best to stay calm. And when you do get stressed out, have a back up plan so that you can calm down again. Tea, yoga, and quiet spaces are all good things that can help a person relax.

#2. Stay Focused

It may be hard to think about the future when you have schizophrenia, but it’s an important thing to do. Setting goals and staying focused on them is a great way to make it through the day.

When you have goals then you have something to aim for. When you are focused, it makes it harder for your brain to have hallucinations.

#3. Basil & Sage Tea

Basil leaves are one of the best natural remedies that can help to promote healthier brain functions. The herb has been shown to help with many brain disorders, including schizophrenia. You can make basil and sage tea by mixing a quarter teaspoon of crushed basil leaves with a half teaspoon of crushed sage.

You can put them straight into boiling water to make tea, or if you have a tea infuser, you can put the herbs in there as well. You should drink this tea at this twice a day to see improvement.

#4. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is said to be one of the most calming teas. Calming teas are great for anyone, especially people with schizophrenia. It can help them to relax, keep away delusions, and help them to get to sleep faster.

To make chamomile tea you can take a teaspoon of powdered chamomile and mix it into a cup of warm water, or you can use a tea infuser again if you own one.

#5. Carrots

Carrots contain a chemical called niacin, which is great at helping with brain disorders. A person with schizophrenia should eat carrots everyday. People with schizophrenia should eat the equivalent of three large raw carrots a day.

Whether you want to eat three medium carrots a day, make carrots juice, or eat two raw carrots, you should be able to get it enough niacin. Other foods with high niacin levels are corn, potatoes (white), and fish.

#6. Fish

Many species of fish contain something called ‘omega-3’ which is a great vitamin  that can help support brain functions. Fish that naturally live in cold water will be able to help the best. Salmon, sardines, goldfish, and koi fish will be able to help the best.

Try to fit some of these types of fish into your diet as often as you can. If you are a vegetarian, or if you don’t like fish, then you can take fish oil supplements instead.

#7. Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can act as a stimulant, which can make the symptoms of schizophrenia act up even more. Also, drinking caffeinated drinks can make it all the more harder to get to sleep, which people with schizophrenia already have a problem with. It is best to avoid products with high levels of caffeine in them to keep the symptoms as inactive as possible.

#8. Avoid Alcohol

Like caffeine, drinking alcoholic beverages can make it harder to get to sleep. The opposite of caffeine, alcohol is not a stimulant; it is a depressant.

If your schizophrenia also comes with depression, then you will especially want to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. This may also help to create less hallucinations as well.

Hopefully these natural home remedies can help you manage your schizophrenia effectively.

See Also:

  • 8 Simple Natural Home Remedies For Relaxation
  • Social Media For Healthy Living
  • Top 10 Natural Home Remedies For Depression

 Fresh Cod was on sale at the fish market in my grocery store.  I bought some to make a fish chowder, but the weather got warm and I didn’t feel like chowder anymore.  I decided to use the cod in one of my favorite Thai stir fry recipes and it turned out great. So always remember, don’t let a recipe hold you back.. mix things up and be adventurous in the kitchen.   Your cooking adventure can lead to a new recipe you love.


1lb fresh mild fish (I used cod) cut into 3-4 large pieces ** do not cut too small the fish will fall apart

1 medium white or yellow onion chopped

1 Tbs of grated garlic cloves

1 Tbs of grated ginger

Thinly slice sweet peppers (or bell peppers)

1-2 large handfuls of Thai Basil (this is a must for the dish to get it’s authentic flavor)

1 bunch of spring onions chopped. Finely chop whites, chop green part into larger pieces

1 stalk lemon grass (outer leaves removed and use the bottom half cut into large pieces and bruised)

1 Tbs cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs water

red chili flakes and black pepper to taste

Thai bird chilies (optional)

** you can also add other vegetables in the dish.  If you add a lot more vegetables you will need to adjust your sauce accordingly. 

The sauce

Mix together

1/4 cup fish sauce

1Tbs of Soy Sauce

2Tbs of brown sugar. 

1/2 cup of water

2 tsp fresh lime juice

Set aside until later.

Note:  Fish sauce is very authentic to Thai cooking so it is something you want in your pantry for a lot of your Asian recipes.

Directions:Prepare all vegetables, sauce and fish.  You want to cut the fish into 3-4 large pieces so it does not fall apart in the dish.  Stir frying this this the fish is a little tricky. To maintain the shape of the fish pieces, you cannot move the fish around too much once placed into the pan.

First, heat 1 heaping Tbs of canola oil in wok.  Add onions, cleaned and bruised (gently crushed) lemongrass in pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Next add ginger, garlic, red curry flakes and saute for another 2 minutes.

 Now add the spring onions and peppers and saute for 2 minutes.  Next add the Thai basil leaves. Saute for another minute. Add the fish gently.  Move the other ingredients around and place the large fish pieces to the bottom of the pan and cover with the vegetables.

 Pour the sauce mixed with the cornstarch mixture.  Do not stir or you will break the fish. Just gently ladle the sauce around the veggies and fish until the fish is cooked about 5 minutes. Remove lemongrass (or remember not to eat them)  Serve over rice.  Enjoy.


Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *