Now’s the time to take advantage of the abundance of fresh herbs in the garden. Make a salad sing with diced fistfuls of parsley, sorrel and chives added to a basic vinagrette. Add sage and basil blossoms, too, for a strong burst of their fresh, familiar flavor.
One important herb tip to remember is that the flavor we enjoy from our culinary herbs comes from their essential oils, so it is best to combine herbs with a bit of olive, canola, butter or other oil to bring out the natural flavor the herb releases.
For example, fresh, chopped garlic added to a combination of butter and olive oil and slowly warmed on the stove will make a dipping sauce so divine that guests will close their eyes to savor its rich deliciousness.
Other herbs don’t hold up so well to heat, so allowing them to infuse an oil while at room temperature or in the fridge will be the best method to capture their flavor.
Here are several herb recipes to spark your imagination and creativity:
Drizzles are wonderful on crusty breads, rice, pasta and orzo.
CHIVE FLOWER DRIZZLE
Pluck and separate the pretty, pink chive blossoms from about six flowering heads and mix with 1 T. finely chopped chervil and 2 T. parsley. Add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Add 2 T. finely chopped, fresh lemon verbena to 1-2 T. grape seed oil. Drizzle over chopped fruit of your choice.
POTATO SALAD DRIZZLE
Rather than bottled mayo, try this dressing on potato salad.
3 T. each chopped fresh dill, chives and parsley
1 T. paprika
3/4 cup canola
or olive oil
1 T. dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Skip the artificially flavored, smoky brown syrup for this refreshing and unusual taste sensation. Marinate chicken, fish or pork for a couple of hours in this delicious blend of chopped, fresh herbs. Strong-flavored herbs hold up best during the grilling process.
Coarsely chop 1-3 T. each:
Add juice and zest of a lemon and 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive or canola oil.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN MARINADE
1 T. diced fresh ginger
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 T. mint, chopped fine
3 T. Thai basil,
Zest and juice of a lime
6 oz. coconut milk
2 T. peanut or sesame oil
To grill, gently remove the meat from the marinade and place on the grill so that the herb bits and pieces stay attached. Strips and skewered meats lend themselves well to taking on lots of the herb flavors.
Liven up that BLT, submarine or veggie sandwich with this herb spread.
Blend these fresh herbs in a small food processor:
1 T. rosemary
2 T. lovage leaves (they taste strongly of celery)
Salt to taste
Add to 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.
Merry Lycett Harrison is a clinical herbalist, teacher, author, wild guide and the creator of Thrive Tonic. To get your free “Herb Tip of the Week,” sign up at www.millcreekherbs.com or visit the Millcreek Herbs booth at the Downtown Farmers Market.