Spring has sprung and it’s time for a fresh start. What better way to add freshness and flavor than to use herbs? The aromas and intricate tastes that fresh herbs provide can add life to any appetizer recipe. But using herbs can be tricky. Keeping them fresh is another challenge. So let’s take a look at our 8 favorite herbs and how to incorporate them into your favorite dishes.
Most often used in Italian dishes, this sweet herb has a hint of clove and licorice. Pesto is a favorite basil-based spread that can be used on pasta, crostini, even sandwiches. Whole basil leaves are one of the stars of Caprese salad where it is layered with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, then drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is also tasty when chopped and sprinkled over tomato soup.
We like this recipe for Corn and Basil Cakes. They can served as a side dish, or make them smaller for an easy to handle appetizer recipe.
A part of the onion family, but with a more subtle taste, chives are famous as a topping for baked potatoes.
Try them in this recipe for Creamy Mushroom Risotto.
This herb is often associated with “south-of-the-border” dishes and salsas. It has a strong, fresh scent and looks a lot like parsley. Actually, it is from Southern Europe and is also known as Coriander. It’s actually quite versatile and tasty in soups, salads, and with fish and vegetables.
It’s also delicious in an Asian- inspired sauce for salmon we found on allrecipes.com
The sharp, fresh flavor of this herb is best with seafood, eggs, even cold soups. You’ve probably had it on top of salmon, or with some cucumber salad.
Why not have it in this Orzo with Feta, Tomatoes, and Dill recipe?
This leaf can be used in sweet and savory dishes. It is delicious with lamb, peas, and ice cream (just not all at the same time!) Most recipes call for the spearmint variety.
This recipe calls for whole mint leaves as a garnish atop grilled eggplant and Lebneh, a thick Middle-Eastern yogurt..
This strong-flavored herb is native to the Mediterranean and is most often paired with lamb or sprinkled on roasted potatoes. It’s needle-like leaves can be chopped and added to pork marinades, or even used in tomato sauce.
Try breaking with tradition and use it in these Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers. This would be a nice appetizer recipe for spring and summer.
This fuzzy-leafed Mediterranean herb has a musty flavor. It’s often used in stuffing – think Thanksgiving Turkey. It holds up well in risottos and pastas.
Let’s really step outside of the box and make this Sage Tea.
Although Native to Asia, this herb is most often used in French cooking. It has a slightly peppery and licorice flavor that pairs nicely with chicken and fish.
Try making this as an appetizer recipe. These Tarragon, Shallot Egg Salad Sandwiches can be cut into smaller portions.
Fresh herbs have more flavor than dried, but they only last a few days to one week. To keep them fresh, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. You can also store them stems down in a small cup with a bit of water (enough to cover about one inch of the stems) and cover with a plastic bag.
One important note about fresh herbs. Heat can destroy the flavor. Some recipes will call for them to be mixed in and cooked with other ingredients, but whenever possible it’s always best to toss them into a dish at the last minute.
Add fresh herbs to your next dinner, or appetizer recipe and taste the fresh, unique flavors each has to offer.