Julienne, a thin matchstick cut often used for vegetables, also works well for releasing the aromatic flavor of fresh herbs such as basil. Although you could simply crush or tear the leaves, julienned basil looks more attractive and improves the presentation of the finished dish. Julienned basil is often also used as a garnish on top of salads, tomato dishes and soups. The proper slicing method allows you to julienne a lot of basil at once, minimizing your kitchen prep work.
Wash the basil briefly under a gentle stream of cold water. Shake off the excess moisture and pat the leaves completely dry with a clean towel.
Stack the basil leaves on top of each other to form a small pile. Place five or six leaves in each pile.
Roll basil lengthwise, forming a cigar-shaped cylinder. Hold the cylinder on the cutting board with the seam down so it doesn't unfurl.
Rest the tip of a chef's knife on the cutting board, then bring the blade down through the tip of the basil cylinder. Slice it into thin strips, no more than 1/8-inch wide.