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The best way to add flavor to your food

21 March 2021 / Team Cuisine /

HERBS – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Fresh herbs, such as basil and thyme, are indispensable in any kitchen and bring delicious, unique, and noteworthy flavors to every dish. For the sous-vide chef, herbs like these bring natural, fresh flavors to cooking and cannot leak due to the tight vacuum-sealed cooking bags. Herbs can be grown on a balcony, window sill, or in any sunny space to ensure usage at their peak freshness. Due to their popularity in sous-vide cooking, we have put together a comprehensive list of the most used herb mixtures and when to use them.

Mediterranean herbs

The most popular Mediterranean herbs are thyme, basil, oregano, and rosemary.

Add these leaves to any vacuum-sealed, pan-seared, or oven-roasted meal for pleasantly fresh aromas and naturally delicious flavors; sprigs can be added during cooking and removed before serving as well. Each herb compliments different dishes in special ways. Rosemary adds the perfect zest to potato dishes and basil adds a sweet piquant aroma to tomato recipes. Thyme and oregano are well-rounded and work nicely in almost any savory recipe.

Traditional German herbs

Parsley is a well-known herb that comes in two varieties – flat-leaf or curly-leaf – and meshes well with other herbs and spices to perfectly season any meal. The flat-leaf variety has a more intense flavor than parsley’s curly-leaf relative. TIP: Since most of the flavor is contained in parsley stems, chop them finely and add to cooking for a more distinct taste.

Another unmistakable flavor is dill, a popular herb that has many uses but goes particularly well in cucumber salad or fish recipes. For the adventurous cooks, try using this herb in stews, creamy soups and green salads.

Chives, a relative of onions and garlic, go very well with salads, quark, and potato dishes. These long, slim herbs have slightly peppery notes and are a great alternative for those who do not like onions.

Wild garlic is a fantastic regional Italian herb that goes well with pasta, vegetables, fish, and even pesto! It’s garlic notes are delicious and tangy without leaving you with garlic breath! TIP: For best results, use raw, as it loses its favor when heated.

Savory (also known as pepperweed) goes well with beans and makes winter dishes come into their own with delicate flavors. It is also known for its stomachic, anti-cough and invigorating effect as it can be used as a medicinal herb and in teas.

Exotic herbs

Mint adds refreshing flavors to your cooking and can be paired with other herbs like parsley and garlic. It is a popular herb in lamb dishes. It is also popular in drinks and can be made into a warm tea during cooler weather and into refreshing mint lemonade in the warmer weather.

One of the most versatile herbs is tarragon. It is called for in sauces, vegetables, salads, and meat dishes and releases its best flavors when cooked. TIP: Refine your hollandaise sauce by adding tarragon and make dishes from eggs benedict to roasted asparagus taste even better.

Must-know tips

Look for hardier varieties of herbs at garden centers to pot to ensure longer growth periods. Potted herbs bought from grocery stores are not designed to last long and tend to dry out quickly.

Bonus: Since sous-vide cooking retains all the aromas and flavor of your herbs during the cooking process, use them sparingly in your cooking for evenly-distributed, perfect flavor combinations.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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