My love for herbs began when I was a kid. Even before I learned to set the table, I was outside with my Grandma picking fresh spearmint for our ice tea, sage for the homemade breakfast sausage, and. parsley for new potatoes. I guess this is why I always kept a spot in my garden for growing a herbs. You needn’t grow your own, of course– fresh herbs are in supermarkets practically year-round nowadays– but for me it’s both handy and a habit. And over the years, I have come to count fresh herbs among my greatest allies in the kitchen.
A handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves or snipped chives adds a blast of fresh flavor to spring salads. If you have tarragon, parsley, chives, and a blender, you’re on your way to a green goddess dressing that’s great on everything from avocados and asparagus to green beans and seafood.
As my Italian friend once told me, simmering a basil sprig or two in tomato sauce for a few minutes at the end of the cooking brings out the flavor of the tomatoes themselves.
While tough-stemmed herbs like thyme and rosemary often are cooked before being eaten, their flavors and fragrances when raw are eye-opening. For an easy appetizer, I like to mix chopped thyme, marjoram, and rosemary leaves with good olive oil and pour it over soft goat cheese. Served with crusty bread, its delicious.
Like wise, one of my favorite weeknight suppers involves blending a variety of chopped herbs -parsley, thyme, basil, mint and/or marjoram- with minced shallot and olive oil. I stir this into hot cooked pasta, season with salt and pepper, and top with toasted bread crumbs.
Herbs, they are affordable, fast and versatile. I hope you enjoy your herbs.