Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer's Scent

Part of the fun of shopping right now is the scratch and sniff portion of the excursion. I am talking about coming across all the herbs that are being grown, and are available to scent my most capricious daily desire. Gone is the default winter choice of: parsley, dill, sage or thyme. In their place summer savory, loveage, lemon balm and chocolate mint are being drafted into everything from salsas to ices creams . I tend to believe any herb can work in any recipe if its aroma gives you joy. Though you do need to keep in mind their aromatic potency. Not all herbs play well and get along with others. Tarragon, rosemary, some of the mints and sage will tend to dominate a concoction, so when I am using these assertive fragrances I will hold back a tad, reserving the right to add a bit more to finish the dish right along with salt and pepper.

The biggest problem with buying herbs is always having more then you’ll need – I am adamant about buying my herbs at the farmer’s market for they're freshest there, and that impacts their shelf life in my kitchen. I store all herbs in a glass with a bit of water in the refrigerator – just like fresh cut flowers. Though, it is this time of year I when I start my all-herb-pesto-jar. When I find myself with an excess of an herb I will puree it with some olive oil, and pour it in a jar. Stored in the freezer, with a thin oil cap, the pesto will last up to six months. All summer along I will feed this jar ending the season with a mixed herb blend that will anoint my winter moments.

Herbed Roasted Chicken - serves 4 to 6 servings
3-1/2 pounds chicken breast – bone in
1/4-cup Italian parsley - leaves only
1/2-cup basil - leaves only
1/8-cup summer savory – leaves only
1/4-cup oregano - leaves only
1/8-cup mint - leaves only
4 garlic cloves - finely diced
1/2-cup fresh lemon juice
1/4-cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

Roughly chop all the herb leaves, and then mix with the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over the chicken and marinate for 3 hours to overnight to infuse the flavors. Just prior to cooking season with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat eh oven to 400 degrees

Lay the chicken down on a lined baking tray. Cook the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven, or grill over in-direct heat.

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