Healthy Cooking 101—
Seasoning with Fresh Herbs
There's a reason why there are herbs in almost every Sun Basket meal. Their fresh herbal flavor adds another dimension of flavor to whatever you’re cooking, bringing complexity and color to dishes that might otherwise fall flat.
There are two broad categories of herbs:
• Leafy herbs like parsley, basil, mint, and cilantro.
• Non-leafy ones like rosemary, thyme, and chives.
If you’re not using the herbs in your Sun Basket right away, wrap them in a damp paper towel, transfer to a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use. But the best way to ensure that your herbs are fresh and flavorful is to use them as soon as possible.
As usual, a sharp knife is a cook’s best friend. A dull knife will bruise herb leaves, while one that’s sharp will slice cleanly through them, releasing their volatile oils.
To chop leafy herbs, simply trim them from their stems with a knife and chop the leaves.
To chop non-leafy herbs with woody stems like rosemary and thyme, strip the leaves from the stems with your fingers before chopping.
The best way to chop chives is to snip them with kitchen shears.
Hearty herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage are typically added early in the cooking process to give them time to release their flavors and soften their sometimes rougher texture. More delicate herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, parsley can be added at the end of the cooking time for the best flavor. But as with most rules, there are always exceptions. Parsley and cilantro can play both sides, going into the pan early in the cooking process or added at the end for a bold-tasting garnish.
Sun Basket Pistou
Pesto's French cousin is almost identical to the Italian version, only it's made without the pine nuts. It's a traditional condiment for Provençal soupe au pistou, which bears a strong resemblance to Tuscany's minestrone. Dollop it on soups, spread it on sandwiches, or slather it on pan-seared or roasted steaks, lamb chops, or pork.Read more