If you’re into gardening, your yard is probably burgeoning with fresh herbs. And, if you don’t garden, supermarkets make fresh herbs available pre-cut and packaged, or packed in soil-filled pots. There’s hardly a dish that can’t be enhanced with fresh herbs, whether the herb is placed on, in, or literally alongside food as nothing more than garnish. The herbs, or combinations of herbs, that add excitement and complex flavor to our foods is endless, and each of us has a preference. It can, however, be challenging to include fresh herbs on dishes that are roasted unless they are in some way protected from high cooking temperatures. And, in other instances, delicate herbs are best enjoyed in their raw state. The recipes today address both those issues, with a roasted chicken dish that is prepared with herbs that have been placed beneath the skin of chicken and for herb butter, created for use on grilled fresh corn. In addition, there’s a recipe for salad dressing here, using fresh tarragon. Fresh herbs rock, but if you must substitute some of the fresh herbs with dried, the ratio is three parts fresh to one part dried. I’m often asked by people who dry their own herbs how long they will keep. The good news is that if herbs are kept completely dry and stored in a cool place, they won’t spoil – but they will definitely lose their vibrant color and strength after a year, or so. To test if dried herbs are still good to use, crumble some in your hand. If they are pungent enough to flavor your foods, your will nose will tell you; faint odor, means weak flavor.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.