Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quick Ideas for Using Fresh Summer Herbs

If you grow herbs, or have a generous neighbor willing to share his or her bounty with you, or if you can buy fresh herbs at a good grocery store or local farmer's market, here are some quick & easy ideas for enjoying them this Labor Day:

*Sweet basil leaves are the perfect accompaniment to vine-ripened, homegrown (or farmer's market) tomatoes. Sprinkle julienned or coarsely chopped basil over sliced tomatoes, add a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a little bit of Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. For added elegance and substance, serve with slices of fresh mozzarella and crostini or sliced Italian bread.

*Mint leaves can dress up the simplest summer dessert: Add a few mint leaves to a bowl of fresh berries, sliced peaches, melon balls and fruit salad. Garnish a serving of sorbet with a couple of mint leaves for a flavorful and colorful touch. My favorite is a couple of scoops of mango sorbet served with a few fresh raspberries and two or three of mint leaves. Beautiful counterpoints of colors, textures and flavors!

*A little bit of fresh rosemary goes a long way to add a punch of flavor to a simple oil & vinegar marinade. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stem, lightly crush the leaves in the palm of your hand using the fingers of your other hand, and then sprinkle over pork, chicken or vegetables on the grill. You can also sprinkle the crushed rosemary leaves over pizza crust or focaccia brushed with olive oil before baking (or grilling). I like to toss rosemary leaves into my green salads when dressed simply with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Kosher salt & freshly-ground black pepper.

*Chop some fresh parsley and add to potato salad or pasta salad for a color accent and zesty flavor. Fresh parsley is also great with grilled chicken, seafood or veggies.

*Minced fresh dill or chives add a punch of flavor to grilled salmon and other grilled seafood.

Zestfully yours,

PS: If you love herbs and enjoy them year round, you'll love Big Daddy's Superb Herb Seasoning, an all-natural blend of leafy herbs (not powdered herbs) and spices, and containing NO MSG or added fillers.

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