4 Best Herbs You Haven't Tried

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by homemadecook, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. homemadecook

    homemadecook

    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    We know the usual suspects when it comes to herbs (like oregano and basil, to name a few), but have you tried any of the four herbs below? They can make all the difference in your dish!

    Sage  
    Use this aromatic and strongly-flavored herb with discretion. Long used as a curative herb in the Mediterranean, sage is a good choice to use with fatty meats as it aids digestion. 

    Marjoram
    Marjoram is a compact, bushy plant with dark green leaves. Chopped fresh marjoram can be added to salads and butter sauces. The delicate flavor of this herb also makes a wonderful tea when steeped in hot water. 

    Dill
    This herb tastes good mixed with mild cheeses such as cream cheese or cottage cheese as a dip for chips and veggies. Next time you make your potato salad or cucumber salad, sprinkle finely chopped dill before serving. This is very mild-flavored, so you can use quite a bit. 

    Tarragon  
    This is one herb with a sophisticated flavor often used in French cuisine. Infuse your white wine vinegar with sprigs of tarragon and always have a flavorful condiment on hand.
     
  2. joshua47

    joshua47

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Out of this list, I use tarragon the most. I use it mostly on fish (like cod), but sometimes on roasted chicken. I sometimes use sage and dill as well, but admittedly not very often. A great dill rub on sea bass is amazing! I've never used marjoram before, but now I'm curious.
     
  3. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,235
    Likes Received:
    339
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I've used them all, although I've only used Marjoram once. I wasn't... seduced. It's a pretty mild flavor, so I could barely detect it. Maybe I should try it in salads as you suggested.

    Sage for me has an automatic connection to pork. If I buy sage it's usually for pork. I also always add sage to my meatballs.

    Dill is probably the one I use the most. It has an automatic connection with smoked salmon for me. And to garnish tzatziki.

    Tarragon I discovered once I moved to the U.S., after hearing from hundreds of people that since I was from France, tarragon must be my favorite herb. It wasn't, in fact I've never had it in France (well I've probably had it in restaurants but never paid attention). There's only ONE exception I can think of, Tarragon mustard, which is really good. But now I'll use Tarragon here and there - still not my favorite though. It's pretty close to licorice in my opinion - and I'm not a huge licorice fan.
     
  4. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,037
    Likes Received:
    455
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    I use all four on an infrequent basis, but I do use them.  Marjoram is indeed pretty mild, sort of like a barely flavored oregano to me.  I made a seafood quiche for a garden party this last weekend and when I got there and took a taste I realized I had forgotten the tarragon.  Of course, no one else cared, they all thought it was great, it disappeared quickly.  Tarragon is one of those herbs like cilantro, it is easy to overdo it with the stuff.

    mjb.
     
  5. ishbel

    ishbel

    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    40
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I use all four as they are herbs used in traditional British dishes.
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,404
    Likes Received:
    633
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I use dill the most and in many different ways.  I use it in compound butters, fish dishes, lamb dishes, chicken dishes, potato salad, and it's my preferred herb for omelets.  I don't like it in tzatziki but it's often made with it.

    Marjoram is like a really mild oregano, I don't bother with it much but I use it if it falls into my hands.

    Tarragon reminds me of licorice, I don't have much use for it although those who love it seem really enamoured with it.  

    Sage is like cilantro to me, I can't stand the stuff although it's very fragrant and I can see why other people like it. 
     
  7. allie

    allie

    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I rarely ever use sage and if I do, it's a tiny amount.  I can't stand the smell or the taste in large quantity. (Funny Koukou, I love cilantro but sage makes me nauseous.)

    I use marjoram occasionally.

    I love dill.  I like to put it in hamburgers, in dips, and salads.

    I don't know that I've ever had tarragon.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    I wouldn't be so quick to list any herb as a usual suspect, HomeMadeCook. You might be surprised at the number of people who wouldn't know basil from bergamot. And, if you're ready to face an on-coming freight train, just ask Koukouvagia about the great oregano war.

    I not only use, I grow all four that you listed. Or should say did. Marjoram is, as somebody mentioned, just a mild version of oregano. I used to use a lot of it in the dried form. But once you start using fresh oregano there isn't much need for the other, IMO. So, this year, when I rebuilt the herb garden, I left the marjoram out.

    Generally speaking, in any dish that calls for marjoram, you can substitute savory with no ill effects.

    Allie: Tarragon is used in all sorts of things, including many classic sauces (such as bearnaise), directly in salads, etc. It has a licoricy flavor. Imagine if you could have the flavor of anise seed in a fresh form, and you'd be fairly close. Although tarragon often perks otherwise dull things up, the way lemon juice does, it can be fairly assertive. As with basil, the dried version is totally different and, IMO, worthless. Also as with basil, it can turn black if it sits around after cutting, so you want to do that at the last moment.
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,404
    Likes Received:
    633
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    There you go now, bringing up old controversies.  I stand by my right to put oregano in anything and everything.  It would be nice to have constant access to fresh, but I make do with drying wild oregano I pick while hiking in greece during the summers.  Oregano sits right next to my salt shaker and pepper mill near the stove.  I reach for it often.

    I've never had fresh savoury, I've never seen in any of the markets.  In fact that's a more unusual suspect than tarragon I would think as is lavender.

    And let's not forget mint, a genuinely underused herb.
     
  10. cabosailor

    cabosailor

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I have sage, tarragon, and dill growing in my garden.  I don't use marjoram that much to make it worth growing.

    Rich
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    In fact that's a more unusual suspect than tarragon I would think as is lavender.

    I would say you're right about savory being an unusual suspect. But it differs from marjoram in that it retains it's flavor better when dried.

    Lavender is becoming more popular among folks without a Med background. But, yeah, I would still class it as an unusual suspect. It's still used more as a medicinal herb than a culinary one.
     
    And let's not forget mint, a genuinely underused herb.

    Here I'd have to disagree. Nowadays mint is widely used, thanks to the widespread influences of Mediteranian, North African, Mideastern, and Indian/SW Asian cuisines. Maybe not as popular as basil, but I wouldn't be surprised if it runs it a close second.

    And boy oh boy, is it easy to grow!

    There you go now, bringing up old controversies.

    Nothing controversial about it, far as I'm concerned. Those unnamed others were wrong, and you were right, and there are no two ways about it. But it demonstrates that oregano isn't quite the usual suspect some people think.

    Something amusing about this herb. In her early days, St. Julia sometimes got so involved with what she was doing that she didn't relate the teleprompter to reality. So, one episode, she's mixing some stuff together, looks straight at the camera, and tells us to add a teaspoon of "oree ghan oh." Took me awhile to figure that one out. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  12. joshua47

    joshua47

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    I don't use sage with pork, but I generally stay away from pig (at least at home). Sage in meatballs, now that's tasty! I like to add a bit of sage into shepherd's pie.
     
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

    Messages:
    8,550
    Likes Received:
    202
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Home Cook -- Those four herbs are very common in the United States.  Dill, tarragon and marjoram are typical of Northern European cooking and sage is just plain popular. 

    The post makes me more interested in you than in the question itself.  For instance:  Where did you learn to cook?  What kind of experience do you have?  Where are you located?  What are your favorite cuisines?

    BDL
     
  14. ishbel

    ishbel

    Messages:
    3,147
    Likes Received:
    40
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    O ree gah no is the way we pronounce the 'erb (or herb, as we would say)
     
  15. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    18
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    "MINT"
           
    we Irish like our minted tea, mint sauce,mint -ice-cream as well as the rest of the U.K.
     mint has been around forever in my family. (and will be because once you plant it takes off like wildfire and good luck trying to rid yourself of it)...not that I would want to I love this herb

    "LAVENDER"
                             used again quite a bit in Irish and U.K. cuisine....In Irish Soda Bread and scones and desserts ...specially Lavender Ice-cream  and in our famous Lavender Irish B.B.Q Sauce  or Lavender sauce on fish  
                             Again easy to grow and pretty much takes over your Garden                
     
  16. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,404
    Likes Received:
    633
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Right on /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smoking.gif
     
  17. homemadecook

    homemadecook

    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I just said they are the usual suspect because they are most likely what most of us know when we say herbs. I would really be surprised if a lot of people doesn't know basil. 
     
  18. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,235
    Likes Received:
    339
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Quote:
    Might be a cultural thing then: I knew dill and sage way before I ever discovered basil (which at first I couldn't stand).
     
  19. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

    Messages:
    6,367
    Likes Received:
    129
    Exp:
    Food Writer
    I just said they are the usual suspect because.......

    I understood your meaning. Something we all do, however, is project our own knowledge, assuming that others share it. My point was simply that with herbs (and even more so with spices) we can't do that, because herbs are a newish thing for many cooks. Particularly when it comes to using fresh herbs.

    Plus, of course, there are all the cooks who only know basil in its dried form----which amounts to the same thing as not knowing basil.
     
  20. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,404
    Likes Received:
    633
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I agree, herbs are not widely known.  People who defrost ready meals and heat up the contents of a can wouldn't know an herb from a weed.  I even know lots of greek people who don't use any herb other than dried oregano. 

    Fresh herbs are expensive and many folks won't shell out the money in the market for them.  For me no meal is complete without the addition of a fresh herb, they're fragrant and extremely nutritious. 

    I didn't start using basil until March 2009 - until then I'd heard of it but it tasted too sweet for me until I started incorporating into my cooking and experimenting with it until I grew to love it.  Greeks grow basil all over their gardens but they don't eat it, it's just a plant.  Whereas dill is widely used in many dishes in our cuisine.  So see you can't say that some herbs are usual suspects while others aren't.