Spring offers such a good opportunity to eat some really great, fresh food! At our house, we are really enjoying the fresh herbs that are growing in our planters. They are finding their way into most dishes as well as floral arrangements.
Some of our favorite dishes and uses of herbs this time of year include:
Caprese Salad – If you have access to home grown tomatoes and fresh basil, just add some fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar and you have some good eats!
Fresh Herb Salad – If you have fresh herbs…basil, dill, thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro…wash, chop, and add any one or a combination to your salad. I would avoid rosemary if it is not supple; if it is too woodsy in texture you will want to spit it out. The herbs add a wonderful dimension to bagged salads or fresh greens. Either way, it gives you a whole new salad experience.
Herb Butter – Just soften a stick of butter and add your favorite finely chopped herbs. Stir, and refrigerate. If you do not have fresh herbs, you can do this with dried herbs. This is great used to make herbed veggies (steam your veggie then dress with a dollop of herbed butter, stir and serve), but my favorite way to eat it is on a warm dinner roll! Yum!
Marinade – Add chopped herbs to a bottled marinade to freshen its flavor or add it to your favorite homemade marinade. A blend of fresh herbs added to this recipe would be delicious on a chicken breast.
Salad Dressing – Add chopped herbs to your favorite premade salad dressing or salad dressing recipe. Lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and an herb mixed well will dress any salad to perfection!
Herbed Olive Oil – I love a good flavored olive oil (read more about that here), so why not make my own? Add fresh, chopped herbs to olive oil. Steep in the fridge for a week. Strain the herbs and put the infused olive oil in a dispenser. Use a single herb, like rosemary, or make a blend.
Decoration for serving platters, hors d’oeuvres and plates. You don’t have to be limited to the 1970s use of a parsley sprig. Any herb can add color, interest and flavor to a small appetizer or a bowl of vegetables. I love to use a little frond of dill weed on top of crostini or a couple of sprigs of rosemary on the side of a bowl of mashed potatoes.
Floral Greenery – I love to add a tall sprig of rosemary or lavender to a floral arrangement as a filler. Either herb adds a pleasing smell to the arrangement, help to augment flowers, and last well after cutting when in water. A single rose from the garden surrounded by rosemary looks lovely on a bathroom vanity or bedside table.
These are just a few of the many uses of fresh herbs. From herbal teas to adding to homemade cleaning products, herbs can be enjoyed for their taste, smell and medicinal properties. How do you use fresh herbs around the house and in the kitchen?