Herb salads, SIDES & MAINS
Herbs may be the star of a dish or support the natural flavour of other ingredients. Either way, fresh herbs can help make salads, sides and mains all taste fantastic!
Salads, sides and mains all taste better with a sprinkling of herbs, even in the depths of winter. To ensure a regular supply for winter cooking, Get Growing reader Ingrid Dodunski-wiid freezes her homegrown basil and mint when in fresh supply. “I love making tabbouleh and you need mint and parsley for that. My mint dies down early, so I pick it when I have an abundance and freeze it. I freeze fresh parsley for times of shortage or rainy days when I can’t be bothered running around in the wet. I make a parsley pesto with lots of walnuts, parmesan and an olive and canola oil mix. I found if you use only olive oil, it sets in the fridge.”
Jesihana Hutchings of Taranaki freezes her parsley too. “I prefer curly leaf parsley in soups and stews, so I cut off a handful or two, rinse the leaves, then separate the stalks from the leaves and freeze them, separately, after chopping finely. I put the chopped parsley leaves in a ziplock bag, pressing out any excess air, before sealing, and the stalks in a small plastic container. When needed, you can take the parsley leaf out of the freezer and simply scrape off what you need with a teaspoon. Immediately it defrosts. It’s the same with the parsley stalks.”
Use fresh parsley for this tasty parsley and parmesan crust for barbecued beef or lamb.
Ingredients • 2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley • 3 anchovies • 2 garlic cloves • 2 cups breadcrumbs • salt • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Finely chop the parsley and anchovies, and crush the garlic. Mix in a bowl with the freshly grated parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Add olive oil and use your fingers to blend. Season with salt. Maria Rohs reckons a green salad is much more flavoursome when herbs are added. “I especially like a mixture of very finely chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley, and sometimes coriander. Chop more than you need as the mixture keeps well for at least a week in an airtight container in the fridge.”
Sonya Cameron makes pickled green coriander pods to use in salads and main dishes.
Ingredients • ½ to 1 cup green coriander pods • 1 cup unchlorinated water • 2 teaspoons unrefined salt
Put seeds in a small jar with a little bit of headspace. Cover with brine. Top with a sealed, water-filled ziplock bag (or similar to keep the pods submerged). Allow to ferment out of direct sunlight for 4-7 days. As the seeds ferment, the brine will turn
cloudy. Store in a jar with a tightened lid in the fridge for up to 6 months.
As an entrée, side or plate to take to parties, Jenny Mclaren likes to make stuffed eggs with thyme. “I have friends who do not eat any of the allium family, so I pondered as to what else I could add to give a tasty flavour. I tried a few different herbs, but the one I liked most was thyme.
“After boiling and shelling eggs, cut in half, remove yolks and while still warm, add butter, salt and pepper, mustard (optional) and thyme leaves. Mix all together and if not moist enough add a little cream (I do not like mayonnaise as it is too sweet). Refill white halves with the mixture and if you wish, sprinkle with a little paprika.”
Sue Wooldridge likes to use summer savory ( Satureja hortensis) in various dishes. “It is an often overlooked annual herb, but it goes well with lamb, in bean salads and thrown in with roasted vegetables and tomato dishes. It freezes well for year-round use.”
For Sue’s green bean and summer savory salad, steam enough green beans for your meal. For every handful of beans, blanch a good-sized tomato and remove the skin. Chop finely with a small clove of garlic per tomato and add ¼ to ½ cup of freshly chopped summer savory, stalks removed. Add a tablespoon or two of French dressing, then dress the beans with this mixture. Finish with salt and freshly ground pepper as required. Best at room temperature and eaten when made.
Diana Short of Northcote loves vegetarian mint, parsley and nut rissoles. She says they are suitable for use in burgers or pita bread.
Ingredients • 1 cup chopped walnuts • 1 cup chopped pecans • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (or 3 cups nuts of your choice) • 1 cup chopped, shelled sunflower seeds, or seeds of choice • 1 onion chopped • 2 cups cooked rice • 1 teaspoon chopped mint • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley • 2 eggs • Oil for frying
Combine all ingredients, form into small rissoles and fry until cooked.
Brenda Meech serves a retro herbed cheese ball with salty crackers.
Ingredients • 250g cream cheese • 2 cups grated cheese • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped • 4 gherkins, finely chopped • 2 tablespoons crushed pineapple • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste • a ‘sniff’ of cayenne pepper • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh chives, basil and coriander
Put all ingredients (except herbs) in a bowl. Mix well. Shape into a log or ball. Roll in chopped fresh herbs. Chill.