I love to cook with fresh herbs, there is absolutely nothing like a the fresh taste of parsley, chives and butter with a good steak. The addition of mint to a fresh fruit salad or the bright somewhat fennel flavor fresh chopped tarragon adds to chicken salad. At my home I have two herb gardens, one out in my main garden where I grow the bulk of my vegetables and then a smaller raised garden bed out on our porch thats within walking distance to my kitchen.
At this moment, late winter I have at least 8 varieties of herbs growing; parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, tarragon, thyme, oregano and rosemary. I have two varieties of rosemary creeping and tall, three types of thyme; common, elfin and lemon. Two lovely varieties of oregano; Greek and Italian. Why so many? What uses do I have have for all of those? Do they survive Texas winters or summers? All those answers and more are below and images of the 5 essential herbs I use in my recipes and as garnish in my images.
Highly aromatic with a robust licorice flavor. Excellent in pestos, as a finishing touch on pasta sauces and dishes, or stuffed into sandwiches.
Light and feathery herb with a pungent herb flavor. Use it with yogurt sauces, vinaigrettes, homemade pickles, poached fish, and sprinkles over salad greens.
Available in flat-leaf (Italian) or curly varieties, this very popular herb is light and grassy in flavor. Use it in sauces, in salads, in place of cilantro, compound butters and as always a garnish.
Delicate onion and garlic flavor. Use with fish, baked potatoes, whipped in cream cheese and their flavor is perfect for creamy egg dishes.
A subtle, dry aroma anywhere from a lemon flavor to a slightly minty flavor. Best used with poultry, fish, vegetables, soups and is paired with tomatoes.
- 2 cups Kosher salt, coarse salt or Himalayan salt
- 1 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Thyme, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 lemon juiced and zested
- Set oven to 250 degrees.
- Measure the Kosher salt into a medium size bowl add the fresh ground pepper to the bowl and set aside.
- Wash and dry all the fresh herbs, remove only the leaves and discard the woody stems from all the herbs.
- With a sharp knife and cutting board, finely chop the herbs and add to the salt.
- Wash and dry the lemon, using a zester remove the peel and add the zest to the salt and herbs.
- Juice the lemon you just zested, making sure to strain any pulp and seeds. Add the lemon juice to the salt and herbs.
- Stir the salt well so the lemon juice, herbs, and zest are fully incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet and bake 30-45 minutes or until the salt is no longer wet and looks very dry, stir the salt mixture carefully once or twice through the cooking process.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool, take a fork or wooden spoon and break up the large pieces.
- Place in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- Add to chicken, turkey, fish, vegetables, salads and added to unsalted butter to make a compound butter. My personal favorite is to add this salt over freshly popped popcorn and drizzled with a bit of brown butter.