April 11 2016

Seasonal Musings by Elisa Ludwig

ChefSpringtime is finally here: Trees are blossoming, markets are offering more variety, and cooks start craving all the fleeting flavors of the season. Yet bringing spring into the kitchen doesn’t have to mean hunting down obscure or tiny baby cultivars of your favorite vegetables. Simply introducing more fresh herbs can enliven your cooking and introduce a needed green element to the plate. (They can also add an oft-overlooked nutritional benefit with an extra dose of antioxidants.)

Whether you tear up whole leaves or chop them fine, herbs add a subtle but important dimension to everyday dishes. Parsley, chives and dill are some of the easiest herbs to use—in scrambled eggs, fish, salads and potato dishes. For a slightly more adventurous approach, experiment with chervil, lemon thyme and tarragon in your chicken or vegetable sautés. Basil and thyme work well in cocktails, especially those with citrus bases. Or try making your own pesto, swapping out basil for herbs like mint, parsley or cilantro (you can also swap out the traditional pine nuts for walnuts or almonds). Another easy way to incorporate herbs is to simply finely chop the leaves and tender stems and add olive oil for a bread dip or as the basis of a vinaigrette. If you’re lucky enough to access them, use the blossoms from herbs like chive or borage as garnish on soups or salads.

Here are some of Steve’s recipes that incorporate herbs in wonderful ways: