Spring cooking with fresh herbs

Even if you don’t have a fancy herb garden in your back yard, you can still enjoy fresh herbs all summer long. Bunches of herbs are readily available in most supermarkets, and they’re super easy to grow on your kitchen windowsill or even in a half wine barrel on your patio. That way, their fresh flavors are just a scissor snip away! Here are some great ways to infuse herbal goodness into warm weather meals:

Basil and tomatoes

Basil is one of our go-to summer herbs, and we really love the way it transforms tomatoes. We like to julienne fresh basil leaves and sprinkle them over sliced vine-ripened tomatoes before drizzling with really good olive oil. To make a quick Caprese salad – a specialty of the Italian island of Capri – slice tomatoes, top with slices of fresh mozzarella (the kind sold in water-filled tubs), finish off with fresh basil leaves, olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

Rosemary and mushrooms

Grilled steaks will be on everyone’s menus this summer and sautéed mushrooms are a classic side dish. We like to kick it up a notch by adding minced garlic, chopped fresh rosemary and a dash of red wine to our mushrooms while they are cooking. When done, spoon everything over grilled steak for a meal that your friends will rave about! Rosemary and mushrooms also team up in Tyler Florence’s tasty recipe for pan-roasted chicken: http://bit.ly/lI6Wyz

Thyme and chicken

Fresh thyme lends great herby flavor to all sorts of dishes, and we really love it in this easy marinade for chicken. Combine ½ cup chopped thyme leaves with an equal amount of chopped rosemary and ¼ cup olive oil, a few tablespoons red wine vinegar, a splash of red wine and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Place in a bowl or a sealable plastic bag and marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator before grilling. So easy but so delicious!

Herbs

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