Fresh herbs and the right way to handle them
Fresh herbs are an integral part of good cooking. Choosing and using them correctly will guarantee that the special character of each herb will shine through.
Ocimum basilicum, Smooth, broad, bright, green leaves growing in pairs on a thick stem.
There are a lot of varieties: Italian, Greek, purple, citriodora, crespa, etc.. The basil is one of the main ingredients of pesto, is used fresh in salads with tomato and mozzarela, breads, pizzas, fish and rabbit.
Versatile herb with a special affinity to tomatoes, fresh or cooked. Puree with olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, and pine nuts to make pesto. Pair with Mediterranean (especially Italian) and Asia ingredients. Chop or tear and add to vegetable soups, butter sauces for poached with fish, and tossed salads. Steep whole leaves in cream to spice up whipped cream for summer fruits.
Leaves will blacken soon after chopping, so chop at the last minute. Use generously, adding toward the end of cooking or add fresh just before serving.
Allium schoenoprasum. Long, narrow, hollow bright green leaves; with edible pink bud clusters when in bloom.
His small but highly scented leaves are used in sauces, stews, vegetables, beef and lamb, pork and chicken. The fresh thyme can be combined or can be drawn leaves and stored in voltees.
A unique adaptable herb for meats, seafood, and summer and winter vegetables. Use springs in bouquet garni to fully flavour stocks, sauces,and soups. Add springs to slow-roasted tomatoes, braises, and pasta sauces to add depth. Infuse springs in poaching liquids for fruit desserts and in cream for caramel sauce.
Use liberally. Finely chop, snip, or when available, separate flower buds, and just before serving. Turns drab green when heated. A pleassantily mild alternative to raw onion. Pair with potatoes, eggs, cheese, and cream. Use to garnish soups, salads, and sauteed vegetables, or smear into softened butter for corn on the cob.
Rosmarinus officinalis. Glossy, needle-like leaves densely clustered along a central woody branch.
Flavours can dominate and taste bitter. Use judiciously. Use whole sprigs or roughly chop needeles and add early in cooking or add finely chopped toward the end. Not often used raw in cold dishes.
An excelent flavoring for grilled or roasted meats, particulary lamb, and roasted root vegetables. Team up with olive oil and garlic for marinades or toppings for pizza and flatbreads. Add whole sprigs to give piny potency to stews, roast chicken, or caramelized onions. Chop finely for use in stuffing, breads, and even desserts, such as shortbread.
Petroselinum crispum. Vivid green toothed leaf clusters branching off a fibrous stern. Most common cooking varieties: Italian flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley.
It is widely used in combination with the fresh herbs and aroma es scent
fish, meat, salads, potatoes, sauces, vinagretasm,etc. It does not require much space, and a few plants supply a family and constantly are producing new leaves.
Versatile and widely complementary. Use generously. Chop leaves roughly or finely and add toward the end of cooking or use uncooked. Save stems fot stock. Keeps its color well so can be chopped ahead.
Use as an all-purpose herb to add vibrancy to soups, sauteed vegetables, meats, and seafood. Use stems in bouquet garni for stocks, poaching liquids, and braises. Add leaves whole to salads or chopped as a fresh garnish to many dishes.
Origanum vulgare. Small, oval, deep green leaves with fine hairs. Most common cooking variet: Greek orega. Other varieties: Mexican oregano.
Formerly it was very valuable for their powers for disinfectants and preservatives, and is now used as a condiment cool and dry, sauces, pizzas, breads and cheeses, zucchinis, eggplants, ratatouillesm grilled meats, etc. Their leaves in tea are good for combat resfrios, headaches, stomach aches and nerves.
Chop roughly or finely and add early in cooking. Sometimes used raw in cold dishes.
Known s the ¨pizza herb¨ with lemon and garlic to create Greek flavors. Use to accent red meats, roasted chicken, or hearty dishes like moussaka and ratatouille. Use in zesty marinades and dressings for bold salads.
Mentha spicata. Oval, toothed and wrinkled bright green leaves. Other mini varieties: peppermint, apple mint, chocolate mint, pineapple mint.
It is a creeping aromatic herbacea that develops and spreads rapidly. For its spreading invader habit its good for use between slabs or on the verge of roads, as being footprints ooze a very pleasant scent. The leaves are used in the kitchen in vinaigrettes, sauces for lamb, green salads or fruits and tee to encourage digestion and relieve resfrios or gripes.
Use leberally. Chop roughly or finelly, or cut into thin ribbons and add toward the end of cooking or use raw.
Add to an array of savory dishes, from pasta to chutney; use to give a Mideastern or Indian accent. Traditionally used with lamb. Highlight fresh peas, new potatoes, and fruit salads. Infuse whole leaves in cream or milk for creme anglaise and chocolates; steep in boiling water to make refreshing tea. Use sprigs as decoration on dessert plates.
Salvia officialis. Numerous thisk, soft, oblong, silvery green leaves.
Its leaves are used fresh or dried to flavour salads, sauces, pork, chicken and vegetables. Also in tee or infusion help you in a good digestion, fight diarrhoea and relieve coughing and resfrios.
Chop roughly or cut into fine ribbons and add ar beginning of cooking. Not often used raw in cold dishes.
Pair with pork or veal flor classic flavour comninations, use to add an earthy quality to onions, winter squash, white beans, and root-vegetable stews. Fry whole leaves in oil or butter to use as a tasty garnish.
Coriandrum sativum. Thin, roundedm toothed bright green leaves resembling flat-leaf parsley. Also called fresh coriander or Chinese parsley.
Use leberally. Chop roughly or use whole sprigs and add just before serving. Use whole stems to flavor stocks, and, when available, roots for curry paste. Flavor pales when heated.
Use as cooling, zesty counterpoint to the spice in Asian, Latin America, and Indian dishes. Great with chile and lime. Addsbrightness to fresh fruit or tomato salsas. Puree with garlic and oil, like a pesto, to serve with grilled shrimp or flank steak.
Handling fresh herbs
look for herbs that are bright, crisp, and aromatic, and avoid those that are wilted or yellowing. Give them a sniff-there should be no moldy odor.
when ready to use, fill a bowl with cool water and gently swish the herbs to rinse off any grit. Lift them out and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner or blot between dishtowels.
a sharp chef`s knife is best for chopping herbs; a dull knife will bruise tender herbs.
A rough chop is best for maintaining the flavor of herbs in most dishes. Overchopping will bruise the herbs and muddy yhe flavor. Finely chop herbs only when you want them to blend in, such as for a fine garnish or sauce.
Large-leaf herbs, like basil and mint, can be cut into strips, called a chiffomade. Stack a few leaves, roll tightly, and cut across into strips.