Monday, October 2, 2017

Herb flavors and usage

Herbs can transform even the simplest dish into something very special, accenting and enhancing other ingredients.  Most savory dishes benefit from the inclusion of one or more herbs to add flavor during cooking or as a garnish to be sprinkled over the top of a dish just before serving.  Sweet dishes, can be perfumed with herbs such as mint and lemon balm and decorated with herb flowers such as Borage.  herbs are also used to make drinks known as infusions to be served hot or cold. 

Herb flavor and usage
  • Basil- strong flavor ideal with tomatoes, Mediterranean dishes, pesto Thai food and salads.
  • Bay Leaf - widely used for bouquet garni, potato dishes and stews.  Strong in taste.
  • Chives - belongs to the onion family. Has a subtler flavor than onion, used in butter mixes, fish sauces and pasta dishes.
  • Coriander - used in the leaf form in salads and Asian cooking.  Indian cooking refers to it as cilantro.  The dried seeds are used in curries, baked goods and sauces. 
  • Dill - a strong tasting herb. Utilise with seafood and veal dishes.  Mixed with yoghurt for dressing or seafood sauce.  Seeds are used for pickling.
  • Lavender - a strong tasting herb whose blossoms are ideal for salads, vinegar, ice cream and other sweets.  
  • Lemongrass - also known as citronella grass, it is used in curries, stock and soups.  
  • Marjoram - a relative of oregano but has a different flavor.  Use for stews or potato dishes.
  • Mint - used extensively for sweets and in Asian cooking.  traditionally lamb dishes are cooked with mint and the use in salads such as tabouli provides variety.
  • Parsley -  the most commonly used herbs comes in curly and flat varieties.  The curly varieties are easier to chop and present well as garnish.  The Italian or Continental parsley has more aroma.
  • Rocket - a strong nutty flavor with peppery taste, ideal for stir fry or salads.
  • Rosemary - widely used herb with potato dishes, meat dishes, especially lamb and in Mediterranean cooking.
  • Sage - used in meat dishes, salads and potato dishes.
  • Sorrel - fresh sorrel can be used in salads or in seafood sauces. Slightly tangy acid flavor. 
  • Tarragon - many varieties are available that differ in their flavor.  French tarragon has the subtlest flavor.  Ideal for seafood and veal dishes.
  • Thyme - Varieties differ in flavor.  Traditionally used in bouquet gami and as an underlying flavor in a wide range of dishes.
  • Vietnamese mint - A peppery flavor with a light "soapy" undertone.  Use in Asian dishes or in small amount in salads.



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