Summer is a time for relaxing, entertaining, and eating! Whether you want a new recipe to try out on your family or you are looking to try something new for your next summer soiree, here are some popular summer herbs and how to use them in a whole new way for the sun-filled days of the season.
Ever a favorite in traditional Italian cuisine, the fragrant herb basil can also be used in a myriad of other ways. Mixed with some pesto and pasta, sprinkled in a cheese spread, or even blended in a smoothie, a bit of basil is always a good thing.
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
8 fresh basil leaves, divided
Juice of 3 lemons, chilled
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch fine sea salt
Combine half-and-half, sugar, lemon zest, and honey in a medium saucepan and stir occasionally while bringing to a simmer. Remove from stove and add 4 basil leaves. Use the back of a spoon to bruise basil leaves, and then cover and steep for 15 minutes.
Discard the basil leaves and add the milk while whisking. Refrigerate mixture until chilled.
Cut the 4 fresh basil leaves into thin strips and then add the lemon juice into the chilled sherbet, whisking it while stirring in the sliced basil and sea salt. Add honey until desired sweetness is achieved.
Serves approximately 1 quart.
A delicious family member of garlic and leeks, chives are another staple for a scrumptious summer meal. Like their close cousins, chives taste a bit garlicy and a bit oniony, but with a more subtle flavor. They are a great way to “wake up” a meal with added flavor.
In a colander, add diced zucchini and a pinch of salt and set aside. Place a deep skillet on medium heat, adding butter and olive oil. When the butter begins to foam, add the corn kernels and stir it frequently as it cooks about 5 minutes or until tender.
Add zucchini to the skillet after draining excess water from it, and add the mint and chives. Sauté zucchini for about 3 minutes, or until slightly tender.
Remove the mixture from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve while hot.
An obvious choice for your summer palette, mint has a refreshing flavor that personifies the freshness of summer. Used in the right amount and with the right flavor combinations, mint adds a pleasant brightness to summer meals.
Spicy Chicken Legs and Cauliflower Couscous with Cherries, Pistachios, and Mint
1/4 cup freshly chopped mint, plus more for garnish
Combine garlic, soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, Sriracha, honey, crushed red pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken legs and marinate for 15 minutes.
Using a food processor, pulse the cauliflower florets until they are about the size of couscous.
On the stove, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cauliflower mix in a large skillet. Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 400° before heating a grill pan with light oil on a medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken approximately 4 minutes on each side, getting a nice char. Finish cooking it by placing the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°, and then remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Stir cauliflower mix, mint, lemon zest, pistachios, and cherries in a large bowl, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use mint, if desired, as garnish.
Serve the chicken legs with cauliflower couscous and lemon wedges.
A powerfully tasting herb, thyme may not immediately come to mind for summer recipes. However, it’s slightly floral, pungent taste and fragrance pair well with other herbs in a blend.
Gemelli Salad with Green Beans, Pistachios, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
Follow the package directions to cook the gemelli pasta, leaving out the salt and fat. During the last 2 minutes, add the haricots verts. When finished cooking, drain the pasta and haricot verts, rinsing it under cold water.
In a large bowl, place the pasta mixture, pistachios, 1 tablespoon lemon rind, and 1 tablespoon thyme, gently tossing to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon rind, the remaining 1 tablespoon thyme, vinegar, garlic, and shallots. Stir the mix well with a whisk. Add olive oil gradually, stirring with a whisk. Add salt and pepper while whisking. Drizzle combination over pasta, tossing gently. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.