With summer on the way, farmers’ markets around the country will soon be awash with fresh herbs. It’s the time of the year when fresh herbs can turn a good meal into a memorable meal, and this week we’ll share some ways that you might do that.
Salads. The next time you’re serving a salad, add a variety of herbs. Think of them just as you would any other green, and don’t be shy about quantity. Toss in handfuls of basil, mint, chives, oregano and Italian parsley into arugula, mustard greens or mixed lettuce mixes, and the herbal notes will blend nicely without overpowering the dish. Top off with grilled steak, chicken or our applewood salmon and you have a perfect summer dinner
Steak Salad with Herbs
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar
- 1 TSP Dijon mustard
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 2 cups of arugula
- 2 cups assorted fresh herb leaves (such as basil, mint, cilantro, Italian parsley, chives or mint)
- 2 NY strip steaks or 2 Ribeyes
Method: Toss the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the Dijon and then the olive oil. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to your taste, and set aside.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill the meat (see our grilling tips). Let the steaks rest for 3-5 minutes, and slice.
Toss the arugula, herbs, and vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Portion the salad onto serving plates, or bowls, and top with the steak.
For variety try these alternatives:
- Add cherry tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles
- Add grilled corn kernels
- Add grilled zucchini, and replace the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar, and shaved parmesan
Tip: How to wash herbs
Remove anything that’s holding the herbs together (rubber bands or string). Submerge herbs in a bowl filled with cold water. Let the herbs sit for a few minutes, then shake gently in the water to release any dirt. Remove from the water, and gently pat between paper towels.
Tip: Storing herbs
Herbs can spoil fairly quickly, but to extend their freshness, wrap freshly washed herbs in a paper towel like a tube, and then wrap that paper towel with a plastic bag leaving the top and bottom of the tube like shape open. Place in a “warm” corner of the fridge. The damp paper towel is an important absorbent that extend the life of herbs stored this way.
- 2 packages of Fettuccini or Rotini
- ½ cup almonds or pine nuts
- 2 cups of Italian parsley
- 2 cups of Basil
- ¾ cup of olive oil
- ½ cup of grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Pulse nuts in a food processor until smooth. Add parsley, basil and olive oil and process for a minute or so. Add the grated Parmesan and pulse once or twice to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta per the instructions. Toss the pasta and pesto in a large bowl and serve. For variety try adding cooked green beans.
Tip: Pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days with the surface of the pesto directly covered.
Tip: Herbs aren’t just for savory dishes. Mint is especially nice paired with fruits. Dice up some mint and add it to a bowl of Beetnik strawberries or mangos and enjoy as a light summer dessert.