How to Cook with Herbs
How to Cook with Herbs
Knowing how to use herbs with different dishes is a very valuable skill when you like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I've recently taken an interest in growing herbs, and since we moved houses I'm starting to take it more seriously. We were lucky enough to find that the previous tenant was growing mint and rosemary; there is also a lavender bush and other plants that I still have to identify.
But back to the herbs, I have compiled a little guide that I was using mostly for my own learning. I have experimented a lot with different herbs, switching and mixing in my own recipes, for instance, I am now making a butternut soup and I'm using rosemary and bay leaves, things I didn't use in my previous recipe.
As you know, there are many other herbs but I have to stick to what I can find locally, now that we are living in South Africa, and also the ones that I like the most (I didn't include cilantro because I never liked it, it is widely used in Latin American cuisine (I am a Costarican and my grandma was cilantro's biggest fan) - I use Italian Parsley instead), I did, however, included coriander. To my surprise, and despite the fact that they taste almost the same, they are not, although the come from the same plant: cilantro is how the leaves are called, and coriander is the seed.
Feel free to leave your advice about herbs in the comments, we are all learning here!
What herbs go with what dish
The most commonly used is "sweet basil" or "Genovese basil". It's perfect for dishes that want an Italian flavour.
Goes well with: Bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, chicken, beef, fish, tofu.
Recipe Ideas: Pestos, tomato sauces, soups, stews, stir fries, curries.
Very similar to leeks, spring onions, shallots and garlic. Their edible flowers can be used in salads.
Goes well with: Potatoes, asparagus, onions, leeks, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs.
Recipe Ideas: Garnishes, dips, soups, sauces, risottos, rice.
Its leaves are very aromatic and it's commonly used in French cuisine.
Goes well with: Artichokes, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, chicken, beef, lamb, fish.
Recipe Ideas: Omelettes, gazpachos, salad dressings, garnishes.
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Part of the mint family, it was considered sacred in ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
Goes well with: Mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, lamb, pork, fish.
Recipe Ideas: Focaccia bread, tomato sauces, pizza, soups, stews, roasted veggies.
A relative of oregano. Ancient greeks believed it was a source of courage and used it as incensed and in baths.
Goes well with: Carrots, peas, potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes, chicken, pork, lamb, duck, fish.
Recipe Ideas: Rice, dips, stews, roasted veggies, tomato sauces.
Belongs to the celery family, their flowers are often used to flavor pickles.
Goes well with: Cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, fish, shellfish.
Recipe Ideas: Omelettes, yoghurt dishes, potato salad, sauces, salad dressings.
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The fresh leaves (cilantro) are a popular ingredient in Asian and Latin American cuisines.
Goes well with: Avocado, tomatoes, bell peppers, chicken, fish, shellfish, lamb, lentils, tofu.
Recipe Ideas: Salsas, guacamole, chutneys, soups, curries, salads.
A member of the mint family, it is sometimes used as an ornamental garden plant.
Goes well with: Brussel sprouts, eggplant, peas, winter squash, pork, beef, turkey.
Recipe Ideas: Stuffings, salad dressings, soups, risottos, brown butter sauce, roasted veggies.
It grows almost everywhere and it is used in teas, jellies, drinks, candies and ice creams.
Goes well with: Carrots, eggplant, watermelon, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchinis, beans, lentils, lamb.
Recipe Ideas: Fruit salads, curries, cream sauces, soups, marinades.
A very aromatic group of herbs used for cooking. It is recommended to remove the leaves before eating.
Goes well with: Potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, lentils, shellfish.
Recipe Ideas: Risottos, soups.
Surprisingly, oregano is more aromatic when dried than fresh. Used mostly in Italian-American cuisine. In some parts of Italy, marjoram is preferred over oregano.
Goes well with: Artichokes, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes zucchinis, chicken, beef, lamb, fish.
Recipe Ideas: Tomato sauces, pizzas, salad dressings.
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