Monday, April 27, 2009
Simple Herbs, Full Flavors
Two herbs almost anyone can grow, and are easily kept in pots --
Rosemary (the green stalk), for remembrance
and Thyme (the other herb here sprinkled over all), for courage.
For the simplest memorable meals requiring no courage at all to enjoy, they make a great pairing. These are the first two herbs I've used straight from the garden as well as home-dried for use in our meals.
Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
We love these spices for poultry, soups, and breads, but our favorites are probably for roast chicken/turkey (as a rub on the skin with oil and under the skin for flavor)
...and another favorite use is for roasted veggies.
These were last week's batch of roasted veggies prior to being put into the oven. They require no adornment other than these two spices, a good sprinkling of sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil before being sealed with foil (or covered) and baked at 400 degrees F for an hour or long enough for the thickest veggie chunks to be fork-tender. That day's ingredients were simple some white baking potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Vidalia onions. But you can use whatever dense root veggies and tubers are at hand.
The roasting leaves the veggies aromatic with herbs, and it can be crisped up by briefly uncovering and leaving a bit longer in the oven (we like it without doing that, just fine). Depending on the veggie/root, sometimes it gets paired with salad, with rice, with roast beef, or just served alone, depending on the meal. I've used the pan juices as "gravy" when serving, or to flavor soups or rice. Leftover veggies are great chopped into a hash and crisped in a skillet by themselves or served with eggs for breakfast (especially with a dollop of salsa or a pinch of grated cheese atop), and also are great for a nearly-instant soup when paired with juices from a roast, or turkey-carcass stock.
They also pair well with garlic as a spice.
I, like most people had already discovered the flexibility of rosemary and thyme, but most of my spices used to come from the spice jar rather than just outside my own back door. These are two that have found their way into an abundance of dishes around here because they're so adaptable and delicious fresh.
My next thing to try them in....homemade vinaigrette!
What are your favorite go-to garden herbs?