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Simple Ways to Cook with Herbs

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Cool weather herbs like cilantro, sage, and thyme can be so easy to grow that it’s not unusual to end up with an overabundance in the garden. That’s great, but it can leave even experienced cooks wondering about the best ways to make use of all of it all. Let this handy guide help you pair your favorite herbs with flavors, ingredients, and dishes that will let their fresh flavors shine through.

How to Cook with Herbs: chive blossoms

Chives

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, potatoes, fish.
Use in these foods Eggs, soups, potato salad, sauces, salsa.

Cilantro

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Chile peppers, lime, lemon, cumin, yogurt, green onions, mint, chicken, pork, tomatoes, peanuts.
Use in these foods Salsa, enchiladas, chutney.

Lavender

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Heavy cream, vanilla, lemon, plum, honey.
Use in these foods Ice cream, infused honey, flavored whipped cream, roast chicken or pork, lemonade.

Mint

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Heavy cream, chocolate, sugar, orange, chile peppers, pineapple, mango, cilantro, lamb, salmon, shellfish, beef, English peas.
Use in these foods Flavored whipped cream, simple syrup, chutney, desserts, salsa, salad, pea soup, lemonade.

Flat Italian Parsley
Flat Italian parsley stays green in the garden summer to winter.

Parsley

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Apples, celery, lettuce, beets, fish, pasta, sausage, thyme, chives, mint.
Use in these foods Nearly any vegetable side dish, breadcrumb toppings, salad, pesto, sauces, salsa.

Snip rosemary stems in the soft stems, not the harder woody parts of the plant.
When cutting rosemary, cut into the tender stems instead of the woody lower branches.

Rosemary

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Garlic, olive oil, orange, lemon, olives, white beans, Parmesan cheese, chicken, pork, thyme, sage.
Use in these foods Shortbread, focaccia, marinated olives, stews, braised meats.

Sage

Works well with these flavors/ingredients Poultry, pork, winter squash, pumpkins, apples, Swiss cheese, walnuts, mushrooms.
Use in these foods Turkey, chicken, soups, vegetable side dishes, stuffing.

Front Yard Garden: flowering thyme on stone wall
Flowering thyme softens the look of a stone wall and fills the air with fragrance as you brush past. Image source: iStock.com/maljalen

Thyme

Works well with these flavors/ingredientsLemon, onions, Swiss cheese, pork, beef, chicken, winter squash, carrots, apples, mushrooms, plums.
Use in these foods Soups, savory tarts, stews, braised meats, roasted vegetables.

3 Super-Simple Ideas to Try Tonight

Compound Butter Stir chopped fresh rosemary and thyme into softened butter along with minced shallot, salt, and pepper. Chill and use to flavor steamed veggies or to add life to plain rice or pasta.

Parsley & Celery Salad Toss sliced celery, fresh parsley leaves, and thinly sliced red onion with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add a touch of sweetness by tossing in sliced apple or dried cherries.

Gremolata Toss chopped fresh parsley with minced fresh garlic and grated lemon zest. Sprinkle over roasted or grilled steaks. (Variation: Combine chopped fresh thyme leaves, minced shallot, and grated orange zest. Sprinkle over roasted or grilled pork, chicken, green beans, carrots, or asparagus.)

For more ideas and recipes using both cool and warm weather herbs, visit Bonnie’s recipe page.

Article by Julianna K. Grimes, owner of Black Sheep Kitchen in Birmingham, AL.