Dill with omelets. Cilantro with guacamole. Chives with baked potatoes. Some herbs seem so connected with certain foods that we don’t even question them — or experiment with new combinations. So when we featured Beverly McClare’s Nova Scotia herb farm, Tangled Garden, in our March issue, we were excited to ask her for any surprising flavor combinations she likes. Now we can’t wait to add some of these fresh ideas to our favorite dishes.
1. Make a quick herb ice cream by adding a little fresh lemon juice, zest, and chopped fresh mint or lemon verbena to softened vanilla ice cream.
2. Sprinkle fresh, crushed lavender blossoms over pancakes served with maple syrup or honey.
3. Try mixing a ¼ cup of finely-chopped lemon thyme into the batter of your favorite lemon squares.
4. Drizzle chocolate ice cream with coffee or a favorite liqueur, then add a boost of color and a hint of anise with a garnish of shredded anise hysop flowers.
5. Add a little chopped fresh tarragon to your strawberry jam for a new twist on an old favorite. Or add chopped tarragon, thyme, oregano (or a combination) to marmalade and use as a glaze on pork tenderloin or chicken breasts.
6. Mix chopped basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary (or any combination thereof) with parmesan and sprinkle over popcorn or a salad.
7. Freeze borage or lavender flowers in ice cubes to make a gorgeous garnish for lemonade or gin and tonics.
8. Give Dijon mustard a boost by adding some chopped dill, parsley, and lemon zest. It’s great for fish or a simple egg salad sandwich.
9. Top baked potatoes with crumbled feta, freshly chopped basil and oregano, a drizzle of olive oil and some black olives. Or for a Mexican spin, try feta, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, mint, black olives and a dash of hot sauce.
10. Try whole stems of rosemary, thyme, or mint as skewers for scallops or shrimp, or swizzle sticks for summer drinks.
Photograph by Gabriela Herman