Guide To Herbs Day 3: Rosemary

Apr 7, 2011 8:05 am

Rosemary, ready for roasts and more

Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ambernectar/">Ambernectar 13</a> on Flickr
Photo: Ambernectar 13 on Flickr
The bold, the beautiful: Rosemary
 

We started off the Guide To Herbs with a Prelude to the Food Republic Guide To Herbs, visited the oft-overlooked parsley, and the ever-popular basil. Today we give you the star of roasted chickens and lambs round the world, rosemary.

ROSEMARY'S USES

A little bit of rosemary goes a long way. It's a powerful herb that, when used correctly, takes a dish to the next level. It shares the flavor punch with roasted leg of lamb, and as if to show off its subtler side, turns otherwise bland roasted potatoes into a hearty side dish.

Subtler still, two teaspoons of chopped, fresh rosemary can transform mere green beans into an exotically aromatic Mediterranean style dish that nods to this herb's ancient roots.

And rosemary is more than just leaves. Whole sprigs can be added to roasting pans to bump up flavor, tucked into meat for an herbal infusion, stripped of all but a few leaves and used as skewers for grilling vegetables, or simply placed in marinades.

FRESH VS. DRIED ROSEMARY

Fresh rosemary is ideal for the truest flavor, but the volatile oils on its needles, which give the herb its distinctive aroma, remain even when dried. To dry your own rosemary, simply cut off long branches and hang upside down in a cool, dry place in the kitchen.

If a recipe calls for fresh and you only have dried, you can substitute one teaspoon of dried for every tablespoon of fresh the recipe calls for. Remember, once opened, dried herbs are at their strongest for the first six months, but can be kept for years. The test for any dried herb is to crumble it between your fingers. If it still emits an aroma it will still emit flavor. Test a little before you substitute, as you may need to adjust for its potency.

STORING ROSEMARY

To store fresh rosemary, trim the ends of the stalks and place into a glass with about an inch of water. Place in the fridge with a plastic bag or moist paper towel over top. This hearty herb will keep this way for up to two weeks. But be sure to check and change its water every few days or you’ll end up with dried branches.


What's your favorite way to use rosemary? Let us know in the comments


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