Friday, June 15, 2012

Know Your Herbs

Summer gardens and markets are full of herbs right now.There are all sorts, each with a unique and distinctive flavor. Each can be used in summer cooking and barbecuing , give meats and vegetable the extra oomph. Because there are so many novice cooks can become confused. Know what you;re cooking and grilling with to avoid a disaster.

Right now gardens are full of basil and dill along with rosemary and thyme. Basil is one of the most important summer time herbs.It's a very strong, almost medicinal taste. It's good ground into a pesto or scattered on a Margherita pizza. Basil leaves are one of the top components in a tomato salad, bringing out the tomatoes' sweetness. However it can be too strong for chicken or fish. For those you want to add fresh or freshly dried oregano.It's also a basic component for Italian style dressing as is its' companion rosemary. Rosemary is excellent on any and every meat and it brings out the smoky flavor of any barbecued chop.Thyme can be used in everything from meat dishes such as  T bone steak or Cornish hen or gracing an outdoor baked focaccio or even biscuits.

The sweeter flavored herbs such as fennel, anise, and dill are also great in summer cooking. Fennel alone is  wonderful chopped and served in a vinaigrette.You can try it this way as a refreshing side to grilled lamb or spicy beef or chicken kabobs however it great French style gracing any fish dish,There is even a fish and fennel stew. Anise is another herb that can be widely used in summer cooking. Try it with a grilled pork roast  to bring out the meat's honeyed can also be used to give simple salads a lift up. If you want a more subtle flavor then sprinkle dill. It is  phenomenal mixed with sour cream and then poured over cold, sliced cucumbers.Dill can also be added to beet salad as well.

Summer herbs can amp up the taste of any barbecue and salad.Use them correctly though for great tasting and memorable outdoor dishes. They 'll become part of your warm weather cooking tradition.

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