Cooking with herbs and spices goes a long way to achieving a cook's desire to serve delicious food. And the great thing is how readily available good herbs and spices now are. But some of us have trouble with compatibility - which herbs go best with which foods? Christian Pritchard knows about perfect herb pairings and he came by to take us through 5 of his favourites.
Watch this segment in Episode 119.
- Perennial herb (short lived)
- To the Greeks dills was an indication of prosperity
- Originated in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean
- Leaves are aromatic and are used to flavour a multitude of foods
- Dill seeds were traditionally used to sooth stomachs after meals
- Most common uses of dill are with fish, mostly salmon and traditional dishes like borscht, soup and of course pickles
Food pairings: Salmon, lemon, capers, beets, cucumbers
- Used in embalming by the Egyptians
- Romans used thyme to add an aromatic flavour to cheese and liqueurs
- Thyme grows the best with full sunlight in a dry climate, thyme tolerates drought well.
- Thyme retains its flavour after drying better than most herbs.
- Thyme is a good source of iron
- Widely used all over the world in many cultural cuisines
- Many types of thyme; English thyme, Lemon thyme, Summer thyme among many others
Food pairings: poultry (chicken), rice, garlic
- A woody perennial herb
- Name comes from latin for dew of the sea, because of its cultivation generally close to the sea
- Used frequently in gardening as décor just because of its ease to grow
- Used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine
- Rosemary is high in iron, calcium
- Rosemary has a bitter taste, but compliments a wide variety of foods
- Rosemary when burned has a strong mustard smell which for barbequing is great.
Food pairings: mushrooms, bbq meats etc
- Native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia
- Mint descends from the Latin word mentha
- Well over 30 species of mint, most common being peppermint and spearmint
- All mints contain menthol, which gives mint that characteristic cooling, cleansing feeling
- The herb is tenacious in the garden and will grown like crazy if not controlled
- Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, ice cream and many more applications
Food pairings: Lamb, fresh summer fruit, RUM!
- Basil means "king" in Greek
- Basil is considered the "king of herbs"
- Basil is commonly used in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisine
- Originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia and cultivated for more than 5000 years.
- Basil grows well in hot, dry areas
Food pairings; Tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, balsamic, pasta, olive oil
Herbs and Spices - what's the difference?
It seems as if people use the two words loosely. Herbs are the fresh or dried leafy part of the plant, while spices are formed from the plants seeds...this is the oversimplified definition. Spices are always dried and can be grounded or in seed form. Herbs can be fresh or dried. Cooking with herbs and spices is ideal because you can add tremendous flavor to your meats, fruits and vegetables without adding unwanted calories, fats, salt and sugars.