Superb Herbs: An A-Z Guide To Our Favourite Kitchen Herbs

Words: Crush

Findus June 2017 Carrots Leaderboard

Herbs, beautiful herbs! What would our culinary creations be without our little herby friends. We take a look at some of the most popular kitchen herbs used around the world and give you a simple explanation of each, their flavour profiles, as well as some delish recipe suggestions that you can make with some of these superb herbs.

A-Z Guide To Our Favourite Kitchen Herbs

Arugula/Rocket (Eruca Sativa)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Young rocket leaves have a nutty, mild taste. Older rocket leaves have a spicy, peppery and slightly bitter flavour.

Works well with:
Rocket is a versatile and easy herb that works well in a variety of dishes. It can be added to salads or atop pizzas, burgers and sandwiches for a peppery crunch. It pairs well with other Mediterranean foods such as avocados, olive oil, feta cheese, pine nuts and garlic.

Did you know? Rocket is full of vitamins and phytochemicals and stimulates natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. On the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples, rocket is used to make a sweet liqueur called Rucolino, which is enjoyed after a meal as a digestif.

Recipe for Chorizo, Egg and Wild Rocket Tartlets


Basil (Oricmum Basilicum)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile

Basil is an intense, slightly peppery herb that is packed full of flavour. It has a strong, sharp and somewhat sweet smell, and comes in a number of varieties, each with its own unique profile.

Works well with:

Basil is one of the most versatile kitchen herbs that can be used fresh, dried or even made into a pesto. It is popular in Italian cooking and pairs well with fresh ingredients such as cheese, tomatoes, eggplant, eggs, fish, sweet peppers, chicken and much more. It is great in pasta, salads, soups, on pizza or as a garnish – the possibilities are endless!

Did you know? Basil can be made into a tea that helps ease anxiety and headaches and soothes muscle cramps.

Recipe for Garganelli Arrabiata with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil


Thai Basil

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Not to be confused with its Italian cousin above, Thai Basil is completely different from regular basil. Thai basil is spicier and more aniseed-y, and more punchy overall.

Works well with:
Any Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Thai and Vietnamese foods. Any curries, larbs or pho will benefit from this vegetal flavour.

Did you know?  The stems of Thai basil are purple and as the leaves grow, they turn green.


Bay Leaves (Laurus nobilis)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile 
Bay leaves seem to create a divide amongst cooks around the world. Some people will say they are packed with flavour and others will say they’re pointless. We think bay leaves do have flavour but only if fresh, then they have a woody, vegetal flavour that can be almost minty.

Works well with:
Meaty dishes, soups and slow-cooked stews.

Did you know?  Even after hours of simmering in your stew, you should not eat a bay leaf. It doesn’t soften or disintegrate and will stick in your throat. This will be no fun for anyone sitting at the table.

Recipe for Slow Cooked Meat Ragu


Borage (Borago officinalis)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
This pretty blue flower has an interesting sweet, yet salty flavour. Sometimes it can also have a distinctly cucumber-like flavour.

Works well with:
It’s best as a garnish but works well with cheese and other creamy flavours

Did you know? The blue flower makes it easy to identify, borage is also known as starflower.


Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Chervil can be described as a flavour somewhere between parsley and pepper, with hints of aniseed.

Works well with:
As it’s classified as a fine herb, it works well with other mild flavours such as eggs, cheese, poultry and seafood.

Did you know? In the Middle ages, chervil was believed to ward off the plague.


Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
As chives are a part of the allium family, they have a distinctly onion and garlic flavour to them.

Works well with:
They work best with other delicate flavours, particularly potatoes (and potato salad), cheese and sour cream as their onion-like aroma cuts through fattiness.

Did you know? Their beautiful purple flowers are edible too, and make for a lovely garnish.

Recipe for Zesty Tuna Fishcakes with Chives and Dill


Coriander (Coriander Sativum)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
The distinct, pungent earthy taste of coriander can be compared to a mix of lemon or lime and sage. It is considered both a herb and a spice because the leaves are used fresh and the seeds are dried as a spice.

Works well with:
Coriander is one of the most popular kitchen herbs in cooking across many countries. It is favoured in Indian, Asian and Mexican cooking and works well with foods like avocados, chicken, fish, lentils, shellfish and more.

Did you know? Coriander really is one of the ‘you either love it or hate it’ kitchen herbs. Why? Because it contains high levels of aldehyde chemicals and a certain portion of the population genetically have olfactory receptors that are super sensitive to this smell. Since your sense of smell is directly linked to your sense of taste it makes sense why some love it and others simply can’t stand it!

Recipe for Thai Red Curry with Chicken Meatballs


Dill (Anethum graveolens)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Dill has a very faint, warm aniseed flavour, similar to that of fennel but not as intense. The fronds are also often confused with fennel, with delicate feathery leaves.

Works well with:
Dill works best with other mild flavours, such as potatoes, eggs and seafood, especially smoked salmon.

Did you know? The essential oil found in dill has been known to aid stomach or digestion issues.

Recipe for Vegan Schnitzels with Creamy Dill Sauce and Dairy Free Potato Salad


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Fennel has a very distinct aniseed and liquorice flavour. It’s often confused with dill but actually has a much more refined and delicate flavour.

Works well with:
Fennel is a fairly easy going herb but works especially well with seafood, pork, cabbage and beetroot.

Did you know? There’s an old wives tale that says if you hang a bunch of fennel above your door on Midsummer’s eve (June 21st – this superstition only applies to the Northern Hemisphere), you will be protected from witches and their curses. Seems reasonable. Just add a bouquet of garlic and you’re sure to be safe from all supernatural villains.

Recipe for Sesame Crusted Salmon with Shaved Fennel & Tomato Salad


Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratrus)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
There are over 50 species of lemongrass but the one that is a popular ingredient in Asian cooking is Cymbopogon citratrus. Its citrusy flavour is delicate and adds a wonderful flavour to dishes. It is also well known for its medicinal uses.

Works well with:
Lemongrass adds subtle flavour to curries and soups and is also used to make teas. Use when cooking poultry, fish, seafood and beef.

Did you know? Powerful essential oil is collected from the lemongrass plant. It can be used as a fresh, non-toxic room fragrance, can be added to pet shampoo to ward off fleas or used as an insect repellent.

Recipe for Lemongrass Salmon


Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
With a decidedly strong chlorophyll flavour, lovage has a faintly peppery note that sits somewhere between celery and parsley.

Works well with:
Lovage can be quite strong so should be used sparingly but it works well with most other mild-flavoured veggies and works well with sweeter ingredients, like apples and sweetcorn.

Did you know? Lovage was used as part of ancient love potions as it’s believed to be an aphrodisiac. Think it has something to do with the name?

Recipe for Courgette/Zucchini and Lovage Tart


Mint (Mentha Spicata)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Mint has a fragrant, sweet and fresh flavour with a cool aftertaste. It is super versatile and works well in both sweet or savoury food and drinks.

Works well with:
Add mint leaves to ice water with lemon for a refreshing drink or cocktail or flavour chocolate desserts with a hint of mint. Add to salads, lentil dishes, pilafs or yoghurt for a tasty dressing.

Did you know? Mexicans call mint Yerba Bueno or ‘good herb’ because of all its many uses. The freshness of mint is great a palate cleanser, it also promotes digestion and is used for whitening teeth.

Recipe for Lamb Loin Chops with Mint Salsa Verde


Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Nasturtium leaves have a peppery flavour profile similar to watercress.

Works well with:
These are probably not at the top of your kitchen herbs list, but nasturtium leaves work really well in salads, seafood dishes, potato dishes and can be made into a delicious herby pesto.

Did you know? Nasturtium flowers are also edible and often used for decorative purposes in salads, breakfasts and other foods ‘cause they look so pretty.

Recipe for Limpet Dumplings with Dune Spinach, Sea Urchin and Nasturtiums


Origanum (Origanum Vulgare)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Origanum has an intense flavour and a slightly bitter taste reminiscent of clove. Good quality origanum could even numb the tongue.

Works well with:
Origanum is one of the most popular kitchen herbs in Italian and Mediterranean cooking. It pairs well with artichokes, beans, chicken, eggplant, fish, lamb and mushrooms. It is a herb that is often used in pizza and pasta sauces too.

Did you know? Origanum is native to the Mediterranean region and the name in Greek means “delight of the mountains”.

Recipe for Lemon, Origanum & Chilli Oil Labneh with Almond Dukkah


Parsley (Petroselinum Crispum)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Parsley’s flavour can be described as fresh and slightly peppery. It can also have an almost anise-like flavour when used to season a dish.

Works well with:
Parsley is super versatile and suits a variety of foods like chicken, eggplant, eggs, fish, game, lentils, mushrooms and mussels. Use it to flavour pasta, mix with butter and melt over potatoes or steak, or use to garnish seafood dishes.

Did you know? Parsley is the world’s most popular of all kitchen herbs. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning ‘rock celery’ (parsley is a relative to celery).

Recipe for Tomato, Fennel and Baby Squid Salad in a Red Wine and Parsley Vinaigrette


Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Rosemary is a pungent herb with a pine, menthol and pepper fragrance.

Works well with:
Rosemary is one of the most well-known kitchen herbs for its use in Greek dishes such as lamb kleftiko – its flavour pairs perfectly with this juicy meat. It can also be used in chicken, game and fish dishes and is yummy with steak and roast potatoes too.

Did you know? The name rosemary is derived from the Latin words ros (dew) and marinus (sea) possibly named because of where it originates from in the Mediterranean.

Recipe for Plum, Honey and Rosemary Upside Down Cake


Sage (Salvia Officinalis)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Sage has an aromatic lemony, peppery, pinewood-like flavour and a soft, grey-green leaf. It has one of the longest histories of any medical or culinary herb, going back over 2000 years!

Works well with:
Sage makes roast meat like chicken or pork simply divine. Another one of its popular uses is when served in a burnt butter sauce – the leaves become crispy and delicious and perfectly complement the dish.

Did you know? Sage has long been known for its medicinal properties and was used as protection against the Black Plague epidemic in Europe. Certain varieties of sage have been used for centuries to ward of evil spirits and restore balance, this is done by ‘smudging’ – burning a smudge stick of bundled sage.

Recipe for Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi with a Sage Buerre Noisette


Shiso (Perilla frutescens)

kitchen herbs

Flavour profile
As shiso is part of the mint family, the flavour is minty with a woody, cinnamon note.

Works well with:
Shiso is one of the lesser known kitchen herbs, but works best with Asian dishes, particularly sushi.

Did you know? Ever wondered what those little plastic grass thingies in your sushi are? They’re meant to imitate shiso leaves, which are usually used to compartmentalise sushi.


Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Tarragon has a punchy, zesty liquorice flavour that tends to mellow out into a sweet aftertaste.

Works well with:
Tarragon is a fairly easy-going herb and works well with most other mild flavours. It works especially well as part of a bearnaise sauce for steak (and frites) as well being a great roasting herb with chicken and other mild veggies.

Did you know? Unlike most delicate, leafed herbs, tarragon can withstand low and slow cooking so you can add it to dishes at any point without worrying about killing the flavour.

Recipe for Roast Chicken, Bacon and Tarragon Cream Pie


Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris)

kitchen herbs

Flavour Profile
Thyme has a delicate, dry aroma and a slightly minty flavour.

Works well with:
Thyme is one of the most common kitchen herbs, pairing well with goose, duck and pork, it works in tomato sauces, stuffings, and fish dishes and makes potatoes amazing. For delicious roast spuds add thyme and sea salt with a drizzle of olive oil and roast. Thyme is also a popular aromatic to use in sweet desserts too.

Did you know? Ancient Greeks considered thyme to be a symbol of courage and sacrifice. If they referred to someone as ‘smelling of thyme’ it meant that the person was elegant, refined and stylish.

Recipe for Hasselback Potatoes with Lemon & Thyme

findus.com

Findus June 2017 Carrots Leaderboard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*