Meaning “mountain joy,” oregano is famous for its role in Italian and Mexican recipes, and awesome for cutting the fat in more cheesy dishes. If that weren’t enough, the herb is also bursting with antioxidants, vitamin K, manganese, iron, and calcium, so it doesn’t hurt to find ways to slide more oregano into your diet.
These anise-flavored leaves age quickly, making them an ideal choice to keep fresh and around the house, as you won’t have to worry about it going bad in your fridge. We suggest opting for French tarragon, which has a more nuanced flavor than its Russian counterpart. (No offense, Russian tarragon.)
Add oregano to your favorite summertime pizza recipe, sautéed mushrooms and onions, a homemade dressing, atop garlic bread, or in an Italian frittata. You can also make a riff on typical basil-based pesto by adding fresh oregano to a food processor alongside pistachios, garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pulse and use atop angel hair pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash.
Its strong flavor makes it an ideal pairing for mellow and comforting dishes, such as potato salads or butter sauces. And tarragon and poultry are practically culinary soulmates. Try the herb in any chicken dish you can imagine—chicken pot pie, chicken salad, chicken soup, and even duck and turkey dishes. If meat isn’t your thing, tarragon also works beautifully with egg dishes and seafood, especially bivalves such as scallops and clams.
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Rosemary Thyme The resonant and aromatic flavor of rosemary makes it a delightful pairing to your summertime cuisine. Add flavor to pork, chicken, or veggies by laying rosemary branches across a charcoal grill, allowing the resinous scent to soak into your food. It also makes for flavorful marinades when cooking savory meat dishes, or atop roasted fingerling potatoes for a comforting side. For a summer evening snack, make your own rosemary oil by gently simmering a sprig or two in a good olive oil for about five minutes. Drizzle the oil atop stovetop popcorn, add salt, and shake the pot to combine. Eat alone or enjoy cozied up with a glass of white wine, good friends, and your favorite flick. Movie night never tasted so good.
Thyme is comforting and subtle, with a lingering flavor that adds depth to your favorite summertime recipes. Its versatility makes it ideal for a variety of savory dishes, and it works well paired with other French and Mediterranean herbs. Try with your favorite grilled, roasted, or sautéed veggies, such as summer squash, carrots, or zucchini. Ratatouille, an Italian staple comprised of onions, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes, is a perfect platform for thyme. Cook a large batch and save to top pasta, omelets, or enjoy it on its own.
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