Tuesday, July 26, 2011
My Fresh Herb Manifesto
I have a confession to make. I just started cooking with fresh herbs. Please don't judge me.
I know, I know, using fresh herbs is something any cook should be doing, and I should have been using them a long time ago. However, the convenience of dried herbs, that don't go bad for months, got the best of me. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for dried herbs, especially in winter when fresh herbs aren't in season everywhere, but using fresh herbs in spring and summer will transform your dishes, I promise you.
So, I urge you. Before the summer ends (I'm sorry, I said it!!), experiment with fresh herbs such as basil, tarragon, dill, and cilantro. Throw them into your vegetable dishes, your salads, top your meats with them, use them to garnish your soups. Try different herbs and learn what your favorites are.
Case in point - my hands down, favorite summer shrimp recipe. When topped with fresh parsley, the flavor of this simple, light dish is elevated to another level. This is another easy, weeknight meal that can be made in a half hour or less. It is healthy, crisp, and satisfying. Try serving the shrimp and vegetables over whole wheat pasta, brown rice or quinoa!
Garlic Lemon Shrimp with Asparagus and Tomato
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 plum tomato, seeds removed and chopped
1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Splash of white wine, rice wine vinegar or broth (use water if you don't have any of these)
Splash of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste
Few handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, stir until fragrant. Add shrimp and toss for a few minutes, until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp and set aside.
Add onions to pan, sautee for a few minutes and then add asparagus and tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Cook all until vegetables are soft but still crisp and colorful, about 5 minutes. Add in shrimp, lemon juice, a bit of the parsley and wine/liquid and cook for 2 minutes, or until liquid reduces. Taste, and season if necessary.
Remove from heat and tranfer to plates. Garnish with more parsley and red pepper flakes.