Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging #54

Sher from What Did You Eat? is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging. The subject of this post will be a pretty posy of pungent oregano courtesy of the local farmers' market.

oregano©


It was remiss of me not to feature this most Mediterranean of herbs but I suppose it's usually thought of as a dried herb when using it in an Italian kitchen. My mother would buy the dried stalks of oregano from the local deli - it's aroma was utterly intoxicating. I was always amazed how little was actually needed to impart those heady scents.

Oregano belongs to the mint family and it is actually a wild form of marjoram. Oregano is noted for it's heart-shaped, dark green leaves. It's high in antioxidants and has anti-microbial qualities that sees it offer resistance against pathogens such as listeria.

I'll be using oregano in a very simple sauce called Salmoriglio that is a perfect match for grilled fish, chicken and lamb. A traditional match would be grilled swordfish.

Use the quantities listed as a guide as each persons taste is different. Always taste as you are making it and adjust accordingly. If you find the oregano too overwhelming, then try using a mix of half oregano and half parsley. The quantity listed won't make a huge batch - it's so easy that you really can make this to order - there's no point having it hang around for a week losing all it's flavour.

salmoriglio©


Salmoriglio

5 stalks fresh oregano, leaves stripped (about 10 grams), washed and dried
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Use a mortar and pestle for the best result - you can of course use a processor.

Place the oregano leaves and salt into the mortar and using the abrasive qualities of the salt, crush the oregano until it forms a paste like substance. Add the lemon juice and continue using the pestle to incorporate. You should have a smoothish paste by this stage.
Add the oil, one tablespoon at a time, stirring it through with the pestle.
Taste and adjust seasonings - finish with a grinding of pepper.

To use, once the meat is cooked, just paint the surface with a little of the Salmoriglio before serving.

5 comments:

  1. I have some oregano growing in my garden, so I will certainly try this. Thank you for sharing this with us. I can see the resemblance of the plant to mint--in the way the leaves grow.

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  2. I have oregano in my garden too! Sher and I are channeling each other again. I think this sounds just wonderful. So simple and so delicious sounding.

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  3. Thanks Sher and Kalyn - look forward to seeing how it turns out for you.

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  4. This sounds so good! But, but what if we cannot find fresh oregano? I guess it wouldn't work with dried oregano, would it?

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  5. Hi Burcu - unfortunately this really has to be made with fresh oregano - dried oregano is just too strong. Oregano is a pretty easy plant to grow, like mint it's very resilient and does well in pots. Perhaps this could a good reason to grow your own?

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