Herbs and spices cooking details
It is good to know how various herbs and spices contribute to flavoring in your cooking. The following may be helpful to know about the basics.
Rosemary and thyme can often be found fresh at your local grocers all year round. When used with poultry, they help perk up any dish. Spicy bay can also be added to improve the flavor of a dish.
Basil (best fresh)
When you eat food containing basil, you taste it more in your nose than on your tongue. It is therefore better to add basil at the end of the cooking process, in pasta sauce, for example, or as garnish. Sandwiches, pizza, salad, eggs, veal, or steak all taste excellent when sprinkled with some fresh, chopped basil. Basil can also be mixed into soft butter and then spread on biscuits or bread. Place fresh leftover basil along with olive oil in a food processor and blend until you obtain a paste. Store this paste in the freezer and use it with soups or rice dishes to give them a fresh basil flavor. Basil adds a wonderful flavor to any bread dipping spice mix or blend. Dried basil can be added when just beginning to cook soup or stew dishes. It can also be added to tomato sauce.
Parsley (best fresh)
Fresh parsley can be used in much the same manner as basil. It can be added to tuna, tabbouleh, salads, bruschetta, pesto, gravy, or used with meat or potatoes. Parsley with flat leaves has more flavor than those with curly leaves. Fresh parsley can also be pureed, frozen and stored for use in the future.
Rosemary (fresh or dry)
Dried rosemary is often hard and easily broken, so it should only be used in recipes that involve large amounts of liquid and long periods of cooking. This allows the rosemary to re-hydrate, bringing out its flavor better. If not, you should use fresh rosemary instead. When roasting chicken, you can use either form of rosemary (before baking the chicken tuck the rosemary stems under the skin). Fresh rosemary is also excellent when used with gravy, potatoes, meat marinades, biscuits and Greek cuisines.
Ginger (best fresh)
Fresh ginger possesses a sweet, lemon-like flavor whereas dried ginger often tastes hot and spicy. When cooking with ginger, try to use fresh ginger, grated for use in stir-fried dishes, fish marinades or roasted vegetables. When baking with ginger, however, you can use almost any form of ginger that you like, whether it is fresh, dried, or even candied.
Oregano (best dry)
The taste of dried oregano is much more intense than that of fresh oregano. When making tomato-based sauces or cooking Italian, Greek or Mexican dishes, you should simmer dried oregano in them, crushing the leaves between your fingers as you add them.
Sage (fresh or dry)
Sage is best used in combination with other herbs to add flavor as it is a pungent herb with a strong taste. The taste of fresh sage leaves is slightly milder than in dried leaves. Sage complements tomato-based dishes and sauces well, and can also be used in poultry dishes, gravy, stuffing, veal, fish, winter squash, hearty soups and stews, biscuits and rolls. Certain varieties such as pineapple sage have a milder taste and can be used in meat marinades or in salads.
Tarragon (best fresh)
The licorice flavor of tarragon complements seafood very well, and fresh tarragon leaves can be used to good effect in fish and poultry dishes or with ham glaze. It can also be added to salads or salad dressings to add flavor. Be careful, however, as too much can cause the taste to become overpowering.
Thyme (fresh or dry)
Thyme has an earthy flavor that goes well with sweet vegetables. It can be used in dishes containing bell peppers or squash, or with poultry, stuffing, pizza, eggs, gravy, lamb, or veal. There are many different varieties of thyme, such as lemon thyme, that you can experiment with.
[tag] herbs and spices, cooking info for herbs[/tag]