Basil is an extremely aromatic herb. It has pepper, anise, and minty tones, and it tastes sweet yet savory, just as the scents would imply.
Basil, Ocimum basilicum, is a member of the Lamiaceaefamily (the mint family) and is closely related to lavender, marjoram, oregano, thyme and spearmint. There are numerous varieties of basil and in this country the most commonly used basil is referred to as "sweet basil" which is typically grown in Mediterranean countries. The name "sweet basil" is a bit misleading, as Thai basil has much more of a sweet quality.
Sweet basil is the type found in Italian dishes, is most commonly used fresh and typically is added towards the end of the cooking process, as cooking quickly dissipates the herb's distinctive flavor.
Basil is good with capers, corn, cream cheese, eggplant, eggs, lemon, mozzarella cheese, olives, pasta, peas, pizza, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, white beans and zucchini.
Basil works well in combination with chives, cilantro, garlic, marjoram, oregano, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme.