Herb Pairing: Which Herbs Work Best with Which Ingredients?

With the vast array of herbs available today, it can be quite the challenge to navigate your way through them. Herbs can bring so much to a dish and by selecting the perfect ones, food can be enhanced and elevated.

That said, choosing the wrong herb can easily compromise the overall flavour and why knowing which to choose in your dishes requires some thought and planning.

At PenniBlack, creating harmonious flavours and food combinations is what we do best. We wanted to share our expertise so that you too can create irresistible gastronomic delights!

Thyme

This hardy herb comes can be used fresh or dried and has a subtle flavour that is slightly minty. The perfect pairing would be with poultry and some vegetables. It works particularly well in stews and casseroles and even better popped in the roasting tin alongside chicken or turkey, potatoes and other root vegetables.

As this herb is a hardy one, it is typically available throughout the winter season and can be easily grown in the garden, making it the perfect fresh herb to use all year round.

Lemon Verbena

As the name suggests, this delicate herb boasts a wonderfully fresh and subtle lemon flavour. As you might expect, it works very well with fish and poultry.  It is also popular in marinades, dressings, sauces and of course deserts and sweet condiments like jam.

For herbal tea fans, the fresh leaves make a fragrant and refreshing hot or cold beverage.

Oregano

This powerful yet delicate looking herb packs a punch, bringing strong aromatic notes which are both earthy and minty.

Tomatoes and oregano are a marriage made in heaven and why the herb is present in many rich Italian sauces. Also paired with beef and chicken, this herb really brings life to a simply cooked piece of meat.

Oregano is also a familiar component of Greek cuisine and work particularly well served with feta cheese in a fragrant Greek salad.

Bay

Another hardy and woody herb, Bay leaves offer incredibly distinct depth of floral aroma. Not typically eaten whole as the taste is somewhat bitter, instead the leaves are added to stocks, sauces, soups, stews and casseroles where the flavour can develop. Once the aromas are released, the whole leaves are usually removed.

As bay leaves are not dissimilar to oregano and thyme, they are often used together.

Coriander

One of the most fragrant herbs available, fresh coriander is what brings life and vibrancy to many Asian dishes. Also used in Mexican cooking such as salsa and spice mixes.

The leaves of the herb have light, citrus notes whereas the ground, roasted seeds give a nutty aroma. Adding a handful of fresh coriander leaves to stir-fries and curries can really provide a fresh and zingy lift.

Basil

This is the go-to herb of the summer and its fresh and subtle peppy flavour is best experienced by eating the fresh leaves or adding to dishes at the last minute.

Basil complements tomatoes and other summer vegetables extremely well and is often used raw in salads. It is also used as a fresh garnish for summer soups, dressings and sauces – basil is the main ingredient of the much-loved pesto sauce.

More recently, the herb is being used in deserts to compliment fruits such as strawberries and raspberries.

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