Be a Better Home Cook! This Just Maika Cooking: Cook’s Notebook section will focus on everything related to prepping herbs connected to all my recipe posts, updated frequently.
Importance of Fresh Herbs
Using fresh herbs in cooking offers many benefits that extend beyond flavor. These aromatic, vibrant greens infuse dishes with a fresh, natural taste and bring a wealth of nutrients to your meals.
Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, enhancing the overall healthfulness of your culinary creations. Additionally, fresh herbs add complexity and depth to flavors, making your dishes more satisfying and enjoyable.
They allow for greater creativity and experimentation in the kitchen, as the subtle variations in each herb can be used to tailor the taste of a dish to your preferences.
Furthermore, the visual appeal of freshly chopped herbs sprinkled over a plate adds a touch of elegance, making your food as visually pleasing as it is delicious.
So, whether it's a simple garnish or a key ingredient, incorporating fresh herbs into your cooking is a delightful way to heighten your meals' taste and presentation.
Picked Fresh Cilantro
Don’t Always Chop!
Using fresh-picked herbs straight from the garden or the market offers immediate freshness and intensity that enhances the overall flavor of your dishes, as their essential oils are at their peak.
Picking and adding whole leaves or sprigs preserves their vitality and imparts a delightful visual and aromatic appeal to your culinary creations, enhancing the dining experience.
Some recipes will call for herbs to be prepared, like greens. Just like the Fresh Hoisin Mushrooms Noodle Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce, giving it that extra kick of fresh flavor.
Cook's Notebook - Check out other helpful tips on Saving Time in the Kitchen.
How to Chop Fresh Herbs?
Learn from my step-by-step picture guide on the general skills of chopping herbs. Follow and read the steps, breaking down the process to help you achieve perfectly chopped herbs every time.
You can do this with any small flat-leaf herbs but do not use this for basil or mint leaves, which require a different cutting method. Start by bunching the herbs together with your hands.
Hold the bunch with one hand and your knife with the other. Slice the leaves thinly as you move across the bunch.
Turn your knife to a horizontal position and, with a rocking motion, chop from top to bottom.
Turn your knife back to a vertical position and, with a rocking motion, again go from right to left; unless you are left-handed, you’ll start from the opposite direction.
Keep chopping alternatively in the horizontal and vertical positions until the herbs are the size you desire.
Once you're done, scrap all the chopped pieces together to form a neat pile.
Scrap up the leaves using your blade knife or a bench scrap to add to whatever recipe item or container.
Use Roughly Chopped Herbs
Roughly chopping herbs offers the advantage of quick and effortless preparation, making them an ideal choice when you need to add a burst of fresh flavor to your salads or dishes in a hurry.
Their larger pieces save time and provide a satisfying, rustic texture and a more pronounced herby depth of flavor to your meals.
Learn from my step-by-step picture guide on dill chopping. Follow and read the steps breaking down the process, helping you achieve perfectly chopped dill.
Pinch off the dark green dill leaves between the bottom of the last leaves and stem.
Bunch the dill leaves together with one hand.
Chop the bunch moving horizontally.
Keep a hold of the rest of the dill bunched up while chopping.
Use the hand to hold the blade's tip to move in a rocking motion to chop.
Then, turn your knife horizontally while holding down the blade's tip and chop, moving it vertically while rocking it.
Chop one more time, moving horizontally with the blade.
Video Overview on Dill
In this informative video tutorial, you'll learn the best techniques for chopping dill like a pro, enhancing your culinary skills. From the right tools to precise cutting methods, I'll guide you through the process so you can confidently add the vibrant, fresh flavor of dill to your dishes.
Dill for the Aleppo Pepper Siced Vegetarian Borscht recipe.
Herbs with Garlic
Chopping fresh herbs with garlic unlocks flavors that can improve the whole dish. When these two combine, you will create your very own aromatic power couple! Some of my recipes call for this technique.
Why Chop Them Together?
Crushing garlic's cell walls releases allicin, a sulfur compound responsible for its pungent bite. This allicin mingles with the essential oils bursting from the herbs, creating a unique and potent flavor profile that elevates the entire dish.
Imagine the earthy depth of rosemary with garlic's sharp heat or the vibrant citrusy notes of basil dancing with garlic's subtle sweetness. It's twice the flavor with just one prep, with each ingredient playing its part.
When to Add It?
Instead of just sauteing onions and garlic, simply add this mixture to the sauteed onions to build flavor at the beginning of the dish.
First, chop the garlic into smaller pieces.
Second, chop or slice the herbs and combine.
Finally, continue to chop until you get your desired size, from coarse to finely chopped.
Video On Chopping Garlic & Herbs
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Use a Salad Spinner
A salad spinner can be a handy tool for rinsing and drying herbs efficiently. After washing the herbs, just place them in the salad spinner and give it a few spins, removing excess water and leaving you with clean and dry herbs ready for chopping or garnishing your meals.
Video Overview On Salad Spinners
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More Cooking Tips
Cook's Notebook: Become a Better Cook! Keep learning! Get more helpful cooking tips by clicking on one of the links below:
Now, let's get cooking! Pick one of the easy recipes below: