How to use fresh herbs
The arrival of spring means young, green herbs are sprouting like mad. Whether added to casseroles, pasta, sauces or salads, herbs add a freshness, fragrance and enticing flavour to your cooking
Parsley and mint are among the most common and versatile herbs in Kiwi gardens. Parsley is an essential ingredient in gremolata – a condiment made from a finely minced bunch parsley, 2 crushed cloves garlic and zest 1 lemon. Anchovies can be added for a salty umami hit, too. Gremolata adds brightness and aromatics to heavier dishes such as braised meats and is traditionally served with veal, especially a classic ossobuco. But it also goes well with lamb (you could substitute mint for parsley here) and is an excellent accompaniment to fish and seafood dishes. Add a glug of good olive oil to create a terrific marinade, and a splash of flavoured vinegar on top of that for a refreshing salad dressing.
Another easy way to utilise an abundance of parsley and mint is tabbouleh, a parsley and grain salad made by soaking
cup burghul in boiling water until tender (30 minutes-1 hour). Drain and dress with cup lemon juice. Chop 2 bunches parsley and bunch mint, toss through the softened grains with 2 chopped tomatoes, 2 chopped spring onions or some chopped red onion, a glug olive oil and a little salt. Chopped cucumber can also be added for extra crunch.
Herbs such as dill, fennel, caraway and coriander produce tasty seeds. Harvest seed heads just before they turn brown so seeds don’t fall off. Snip entire heads and place in a paper bag to dry. After drying, shake the seeds loose into the bag.
A herbal habit Add chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme to bread dough. Toss plucked leaves from tender herbs into a salad. Stuff tarragon, sage or parsley into the cavity of a chicken or whole fish before cooking. Mix chopped herbs into softened butter, mayonnaise or aioli.