HOW TO COOK WITH HERBS

I’m not sure what I enjoy most about herbs.  Growing them, cooking with them, or gently brushing their fragrant leaves for the sheer enjoyment of their fragrance.  I use fresh herbs when ever I can.  With dried herbs you don’t know their quality and what level of intensity they will bring to a dish.

Herbs are divided into two categories, hard and soft.  Hard herbs are the ones that have thick, woody stems: oregano, sage, thyme, lavender, and rosemary, for example.  These are powerful herbs that are added at the beginning of a dish and can withstand the heat, slowly releasing their oils and flavours.  Because they’re so strong they can easily overwhelm a dish.

Soft herb s include basil, dill, cilantro, tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil.  They are more delicate and volatile.  These herbs should only be used at the end of cooking, after the pan is off the heat and you’re ready to serve the dish.  Don’t cut your soft herbs too much.  Mincing them destroy their flavour.  The only herb you cut fine is chives.  As a rule, give soft herbs one pass with the knife just before you use them, or better, tear the leaves by hand.

My kitchen window is filled with herbs .  Most will be planted in containers outside my kitchen door.  I’ve several kinds of mint and much as I adore the little darlings, they will take over my garden.   Now if our weather would just cooperate and give us some heat both my herbs and myself will be extremely happy.

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