Humble it may be, but what a difference a herb makes! Add just one sprig of mint, parsley or cilantro to the simplest of dishes and what you have is the sweet smell of success. Soft and succulent fresh herbs have a captivating flavor and aroma that cannot be substituted or replaced. Each has its own characteristic flavor that makes it most suitable for use in certain foods.
Here are some favorite serving suggestions for some of the more popular herbs.
Besides being used to impart any dish with a fresh taste, this versatile herb also adds a festive look to any dish when used as a garnish.
- Chop ¼ cup fresh parsley, blend with ½ cup softened butter and refrigerate. Simply scoop out the required amount and melt over roast chicken and cooked vegetables or spread over warm bread rolls or slices of warm French bread just before serving.
- Place a few sprigs of parsley placed around the rim of a meat platter to add vibrant color to the dish or add just a couple of sprigs atop a whole chunk of roast for some crowing glory.
- Parsley also works with many ground beef recipes.
Sweet yet peppery, these shiny green leaves have their place in Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cuisine and are used in almost all Italian dishes from pesto to pasta.
- Chopped basil adds fresh flavor when sprinkled on to salads or chopped and added to creamy dips and cheese or egg dishes.
- Chopped basil can also be added to a mix of melted butter and Parmesan cheese and tossed with popcorn for a delightfully different taste.
Deceptively dainty oregano leaves add a rich, spicy punch when added to any dish. Oregano is one of the few herbs whose flavor improves with drying and intensifies the longer you cook it.
- For a hint of spiciness stir in a pinch of oregano to hot vegetables that have been tossed with Italian dressing.
- Give crumb mixtures and batters a slight twist by adding chopped oregano before using to coat foods.
There are over 30 species of mint and its sweet, tangy taste goes well with a wide range of foods, right from salads, vegetables and lamb to ice creams. It is steeped into hot water with tea leaves to make the ever-popular mint tea and is a popular garnish for several cocktails.
- Chopped mint adds a minty blast to plain steamed rice and to any flavored jelly. It is also delectable when stirred into thawed whipped topping and spooned over fresh berries.
- A sprig of mint makes a great garnish for any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink and also for fruit salads.
- It works extremely well with lamb
The silver-green leaves of this aromatic herb are pungent and pair well with all meat and potato dishes. They are also fantastic in tomato sauces and fish, mushroom and egg dishes.
- When making meatloaf or burgers, add a little rosemary to the ground meat before cooking.
- Traditional with lamb.
- Roast potatoes have a most delicious flavor when coated with rosemary before roasting.
- Rosemary is often used when preparing marinades, sauces and soups.
A parsley look-alike, but with a much stronger flavor and aroma, the cilantro is the mainstay of the ever-popular salsa. It is used abundantly in Mexican as well as Indian cuisine.
- Chopped cilantro is added to most Indian curries just before they are taken off the fire.
- Blended with mint and yoghurt, it makes a delicious tasting dip.
- Plenty of chopped cilantro goes into making a hearty, flavorful salsa.
Courtesy: Lisa Paterson
Website URL: Crock Pot Recipes