One of the most revelatory experiences of my spice life has been becoming acquainted with various forms of herb combinations around the world. The same herbs may be mixed in different concentrations for completely diverse results. One additional spice and some salt may be thrown in to perk up an herb mix and change your taste, or even your life. You may have heard of some of these, but not all, I’ll bet. We carry all of them at The Spice Diva Emporium, in case you were wondering.
Bouquet Garni is just the thing to add to soups and stews, this combination of Basil, Savory, Tarragon, Dill Weed, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Thyme. It is usually made up of sprigs of these herbs tied with string or placed into a muslin bag to enhance the following:
• Boeuf Bourguignon
• Blanquette de Veau
• Brown Windsor soup
• Carbonnade flamande
• Coq au vin
• French onion soup
• Pot au feu
• Poule au pot
marinade or even a rub. Its ingredients are Parsley, Garlic, Onion, Red Chili, Black Pepper, Oregano, Cilantro, Sea Salt, Cumin. Recipe: A couple of hours before serving, mix together the following:
3 TB Chimichurri Dry Spice Mix,
3 TB olive oil
1 TB water
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Fines Herbes is a blend of dried or fresh Parsley, Chives, Chervil, and Tarragon. Other ingredients are sometimes added such as Watercress, Marjoram or Oregano. This is considered a more delicate herb mixture and is an ingredient in the preparation of eggs and salads.
Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is notable for the addition of Fennel Seed and Lavender. One of my favorite recipes is Chicken Provençal from The New York Times a few years back. One day, about 10 people came in asking for the combination. As I do, I asked what they were cooking and found a new edition of the repertoire in the process. It’s easy and is finished in the oven. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017327-roasted-chicken-provencal (Note: You may have to at least temporarily join to get the full recipe. www.Food52 may have it as well.) We mix ours fresh at The Spice Diva Emporium.
Greek Seasoning was a favorite of the shop since the first day it was delivered. It is notable for the addition of spearmint. We use it on Greek salads, lamb, potatoes or tzatziki (just add yogurt!). The ingredients are Garlic, Onion, Marjoram, Spearmint, Oregano, Thyme, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Black Pepper.
Italian Seasoning, which we mix at The Spice Diva Emporium, is a “must have” for marinara or any Italian dish which is not spicy. Tarragon, Crushed Sage, Basil, Marjoram, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme meld together to enhance sauces, bread, pasta or just for dipping your bread in olive oil. Use your imagination!
Za’atare most requested combinations in The Spice Diva Emporium. We became acquainted with it during our exploration of the Yottam Ottolenghi cookbooks as it is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine where several versions of it are sold. Its origins are biblical in that the Hyssop of The Bible is the Za’atar herb of today. Most commonly, we find it in a combination which imitates the original flavor but is much easier to reproduce. A few years ago, we were unable to get Za’atar because the fields in which it was grown in Israel had to lie fallow for a time every seven years. (that’s biblical!) When the price rose sharply, we decided to make our own from the following ingredients: Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Sumac and Sea Salt. We now use it in yogurt sauces, hummus, all sorts of grain dishes. It is a comforting and warm flavor, even if it is new to you.
Attribution to rammelkampfoto.com, wikipedia.com, www.culinaryhill.com, www.cooking.nytimes.com, and www.thespicediva.com