Seven Ways To Use Fresh Herbs
1. Replace dried herbs with fresh
The easiest place to start with fresh herbs, is swapping your usual dried herbs for fresh as this adds lots of flavour and requires no additional thought!
- Adding dried oregano to your ragu? - Switch to fresh.
- Dried rosemary over roast potatoes? - Fresh is even better, try blitzing with olive oil and pouring over before roasting.
- Dried basil in tomato sauces? - Finely chiffonade fresh basil through your tomato sauce, towards the very end of cooking, to impart tons of flavour effortlessly.
2. Infuse into sauces
Whether its adding rosemary sprigs to gravy, fresh basil in your tomato sauce, bay leaves in your bechamel or fresh dill in your creamy sauces with fish - herbs have a lot to say for making sauces sing.
When using hard herbs like rosemary, thyme or bay, you want to infuse during the cooking process but for softer herbs you want to add afterwards.
3. Two minute dressings
If I'm stuck for time, I will often blitz up some fresh herbs with good olive oil, garlic and sea salt to use as a dressing on vegetables, salads, potatoes or even through pasta and grains. You can use any variety of herbs, once you're confident in what compliments each other. It's a great way to use up and odds and ends, or the stalks of soft herbs like parsley and coriander.
4. Making pastes
If you're not making your own pastes for aromatic dishes like curries - you're missing out. Using fresh herbs in pastes not only adds plenty of flavour, but colour too.
Again, another great way to use up stalks that might otherwise end up in the bin - as pastes don't need to look pretty!
5. Tossed through salads
An east way to liven up a fresh salad, is to get some fresh herbs involved. Dill, parsley, basil, oregano, chives, coriander and even mint can all elevate a simple salad when used correctly. The extra pop of green will make your dish look even more appetising too.
6. Through rice and grains
As with salads, adding fresh herbs to cooked grains like couscous, quinoa or spelt is a really simple but effective way to add an extra pop of flavour and colour to an otherwise often overlooked element of a meal.
Stick to soft herbs, chopped and added right at the end of cooking, otherwise they will wilt!
Don't be shy - grains can take plenty of herbs as they act as quite a neutral base.
7. As a garnish.
Ending with a simple and perhaps obvious one - garnish!
Finishing a meal with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, a chiffonade of basil or even a single coriander leaf is always going to add that extra something to your meal.
Save your leaves for garnish, and use the stalks for pastes and dressings as suggested above!
I hope these tips inspire you to grab a few bunches of fresh herbs on your next visit to the market. Feel free to ask me any questions, if you perhaps have some herbs and you're not sure how best to use them!