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How to Select and Cook with Herbs

Flavor enhancers are the best way to describe herbs, not smokables.

When using herbs one must remember that they should extend and balance out a dish not overpower it. Herbs are exciting because they can make dull dishes great. And you can use them to garnish your dish as well. Dry herbs are not as pungent as their fresh brothers and sisters. Fresh is best. When shopping for herbs, make sure there aren't any black spots or wrinkled leaves. Look for robust looking and smelling herbs. See the chart below for types of herbs.

 

Type of Herb                                    Characteristics                                Use

Basil

It's nice. The leaves are pointed and can come in a few colors and sizes from green, purple and red.

Base for pesto. Flavoring sauces, chicken fish and pasta dishes. Great in chopped salads. Infuse with oils.

Bay Leaf

Smooth leaf, a bit rigid.

I use the dry ones. They're pretty powerful. Used to flavor sauces, soups, grain dishes, stews

Must remove before serving because you can't eat them.

Chervil

Licorice scent and flavor, similar in appearance to flat leaf parsley but with finer leaves.

Part of "fine herbs" mixture of parsley, cheval, tarragon.

Chervil is used to flavor, egg, fish and chicken dishes.

Cilantro

Similar in shape to parsley but with a different flavor

Used in Mexican, South American, Thai, Indian and other Asian cuisines. Used in uncooked sauces. Used to flavor salsa.

Dill

Small feathery leaves with a pungent lovely order.

I like this stuff in my egg salad. Used fresh to flavor sauces, stews, and soups. Used in Eastern / Central European cuisines.

Marjoram

Tiny round leaves similar to fresh oregano even in flavor.

Great for sauces and veggie dishes. Used in Italian and Greek cuisines.

Mint

Pointed leaves that can vary in size and scent/flavor.

Used in the popular beverage, the mojito. Used to create mint jelly and to flavor sweet dishes. 

 

Oregano

 

Small round leaves.

 

Used in Italian and Greek cooking. Great in sauces or with pork, chicken, lamb, fish and veggies.

Parsley

Curled or flat leaf - Italian parsley.

Flavoring of sauces, Good on all meats, stews, salads and soups.

Rosemary

Firm small pointed green leaves attached to a stem. Has a pine like scent. Leaves are pointy and small.

Used as skewers for middle eastern cooking, for grilling foods. Intense flavor. Great with meats.

Sage

Part of the mint family. Large leaves. Green in color.

Great in stuffing, sausages and some stews.

Savory

Similar to thyme.

Used in stuffing, salads, soups and sauces.

Tarragon

Narrow leaves, smells a little like licorice.

Used in chicken dishes, sauces, eggs, and fish

Thyme

Tiny leaves. Great herb

Used to flavor, soups, stews and braises. Used in all types of cuisines. Middle east to European.

 






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