From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Follow her on Twitter at @frijolita and email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com.
It’s no secret that rosemary can amp up your chicken or that cilantro transforms tomatoes and onions from vegetable salad to salsa. But did you know that herbs can zsush up your salad or even a cocktail? They’re so much more than you thought, and I promise you, fresh is WAY better than the dried stuff you’re buying in plastic bottles at the grocery store.
While I usually give you a list of recipes to try out with an ingredient, this time I’m gonna drop a kitchen basics bomb on you. Some of the most simple things to do with herbs are the best — highlighting the subtlety of their flavors and complimenting the flavors or textures around them. My top list of herbs to buy at the market include:
- Lemon thyme
- Basil/Purple Basil
And the best things to do with them?
- Tear, smash or roll herbs in your palms then add them to a bowl of salad greens and give them a good toss with a light dressing.
- Bundle a variety of herbs, no matter which ones, with a bit of string or twine and throw them into a pot of soup, a braise, or with a roast/chicken.
- Smash or roll herbs in your palm and put them in a bottle of olive oil for a flavorful infusion.
- Finely chop any herb you like, stir into softened butter, reshape into a log using parchment paper and you have compound butter.
- Finely chop any herb and mix it with a soft, spreadable cheese like goat cheese or quark for an infused spread.
- Roughly chop a few herbs and throw them into a basic marinade for grilling meats
Bam! I just gave you about 9,847,598,734 different dishes or things you can do with all the herbs that are out in force at the markets right now! Seriously, don’t be afraid to pick up a bundle of herbs at the market and just throw them in with something.
While, yes, some herbs traditionally pair well with certain things, there’s no hard and fast rule that applies to pairing herbs with proteins or dips or anything like that. Just go with the flow and give it a try, maybe cilantro with some shredded cucumbers and yogurt would make a fabulous dip!