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How to handle a mixed bunch


Stumped about what to do with a bouquet like this? (Bonnie S. Benwick)

As I was admiring the bunches of mixed fresh herbs at the farmers market on Sunday (okay, it's this market -- the one I visit and refer to most frequently because it's on my weekend walking route), the vendor told me she's a little puzzled about the way customers react to them.

"They sniff," she said. "They ooh and ahh. But they reach for the bunches of basil." She uses the mixed herbs to infuse vinegars, adds them to salads and stir-fries.

So I grabbed a bouquet of lovage, chives with blossoms, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and flat-leaf parsley. I plopped half in a short vase for the table, and coarsely chopped the remaining herbs for our Sunday dinner salad of mixed greens, lardons and over-easy eggs. What a bright, lovely addition, aroma- and flavorwise.

Care to help, dear readers? Add your suggestions below and we'll keep a running list of other favorite ways to use mixed herbs. Best comment by week's end could earn you a cookbook.

-- Bonnie S. Benwick

By The Food Section  |  May 10, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  To Market, To Market  | Tags: Bonnie S. Benwick, To Market  
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Comments

Hmm. You've got me thinking and caught off-guard. With fresh herbs, I've tended to go with single herbs. Particularly dill, cilantro (or culantro), and, yes, basil. My experience with mixed herbs is in some blends of dried herbs such as Herbes de Provence.

That does remind me of a favorite breakfast. I was staying at a B&B in Danville, VA, and the host prepared a breakfast high-lighted by an omelette flavored by chevre and herbes de Provence. It'd be even better with some fresh, mixed herbs.

Other thoughts might be as a garnish for a tomato soup or a variant on caprese salad. I'll have to pick up a batch this weekend and see where inspiration takes me.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 10, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

sounds perfect for making a sort of chimichurri. Oil, vinegar, pepper, finely minced garlic & fresh herbs simply combined to make a delicious sauce for steak, chicken, etc. You would be unlikely to get a traditional chimichurri but I bet almost any combination of market herbs would be delicious.

Posted by: iowa100 | May 11, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I love chopping up mixed herbs and throwing them into my salad greens. Then to get the double whammy, using the same herbs infused into a vinagrette (typically with olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, s&p). Yum!

Posted by: UStreet | May 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I use mixed herbs and yogurt to marinate chicken.

Posted by: ColleenFoodieTots | May 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm liking the chimichurri, iowa100.

Posted by: benwickb | May 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Well I grow my own herbs rather then buy them at the farmers market. So I always have the exact mix I want avaible. However some combos
Any of the following + 3 tea bags+ 1 gallon water in sun= yummy sun tea (try mint, lemongrass, lemonbalm, orange mint, stevia, oregano, thyme, lavender)
amy of the following+ dice potatoes+ a little olive oil roasted = yummy potatoes (try rosemary, parsley, thyme , oregano, sage, mint, lemongrass, dill,chives, cilantro)
any of the following+eggs+ cheese= yummy omlet ( try rosemary , thyme, oregano, chives, lavender. parsley, mint, dill, sage)

Posted by: geniec87 | May 12, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

geniec87, you're the winner. Send your mailing address to food@washpost.com. Thanks to all for such good ideas.

Posted by: benwickb | May 14, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, these haven't been available at the NoVa markets I've recently visited (Falls Church, Courthouse, Columbia Pike). I did just see a recipe where a melange of herbs would do nicely. It was for a tomato tartare accompanied by fresh asparagus. The mixed herbs would go nicely into the tartare with a few chopped for the plate.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 16, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

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