Adding fresh herbs is the quickest and easiest way to jazz up any meal. Fresh herbs are so satisfying to grow because they are hearty and most are quite forgiving. Parsley and Lemon Balm will grow like a weed. Once they get started you have no choice but to use them everyday in your cooking, lest they take over your backyard. Nothing like a little fear for your safety to get you to use your herbs. Honey, have you seen the dog?
Herbs I can not live without:
Lemon balm is part of the mint family and looks exactly like it. The fragrance is lemony and robust. We use it in salads of all kinds including: pasta, lettuce and fruit, on top of sorbet, sauteed with green beans, in iced green tea….Anywhere you would like the essence of lemon is the perfect place for this herb. A great tip for lemon balm is blending it with our good friend basil when making a pesto sauce, for good measure, add some parsley for a real green festivus.
It would be wrong for me to love basil more than I do. The bold flavor, the unmistakable fragrance, the elegant way it will chiffonade with a sharp knife. In the summer when it is plentiful I believe it is my duty to grow, eat and use as much of it as I can. Here are just a few ways we indulge in basil. We add it to salads of all kinds including lettuce, pasta and fruit (yes, the same as lemon balm). Warm pasta of any kind begs for basil. Rolled up in a pita with a zesty Italian dressing and loads of veggies. On top of a pizza with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts yum!
I believe that parsley is the number 2 pencil of the herbs. Kind of underused, overlooked, but a really smart thing to have in your house. Parsley adds a depth and freshness to any dish cold or hot, that I think is wonderful. I chop it up and throw it in almost anything including, sandwiches, salads and hot dishes. The easiest and best salad ever is a bag of your favorite greens with chopped parsley, lemon balm and basil. Add your fave vinaigrette and you have a bistro worthy salad in two minutes. It’s a great friend to all things tomato and potato of course, so next time you whip up some mashed potatos be sure to include this green friend and some garlic for sass. Parsley is also inexpensive and SO easy to grow in abundance. (Think, where did the dog go?)
As you plant your gardens big and small, consider adding some herbs. Try a few you have never had and fall back in love with some of the classics.
Have a great holiday Weekend!