Anyone who cooks a lot of Italian food knows that there are three staple herbs that you can’t go without: basil, oregano and garlic. Each has a distinct flavor and brings its own strength to a dish. Here’s a quick 411 on these Italian must-haves.
FLAVOR: As part of the mint family, basil adds an aromatic scent with a hint of licorice. It provides the perfect complement to the acidity of tomatoes—cooked or raw.
USES: Add to tomato-based sauces, chicken dishes, seafood or pizza. Fresh basil is also delicious when paired with raw tomatoes and mozzarella in Caprese salad.
PAIRING WITH OTHER HERBS: Basil pairs well with Mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, dill and marjoram.
DID YOU KNOW … basil is the main herb used in pesto? It’s typically combined with pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and sometimes parmesan cheese and used as a pasta sauce or on pizza instead of tomato sauce.
TIP: Rub the leaves between your fingers to release the fragrance and oils before cooking or eating.
HERE AT 3 SONS WE CURRENTLY USE 5 POUNDS OF BASIL WEEKLY!
FLAVOR: Like basil, oregano is from the mint family.
USES: Fresh and dried oregano is often used in tomato sauces or with meats and fish.
PAIRING WITH OTHER HERBS: Oregano pairs well with basil, cilantro, chives, bay, mint, parsley, thyme, marjoram and mint.
DID YOU KNOW … several studies have found that the essential oil in oregano kills MRSA?
TIP: Dried oregano is slightly stronger than fresh oregano in terms of flavor, so you’ll need less.
FLAVOR: Sweet and pungent that’s stronger than onion.
USES: Garlic works with almost any foods: lamb, chicken, beef, fish and pork as well as in salad dresses, pasta sauces, vegetables and, of course, garlic bread.
PAIRING WITH OTHER HERBS: Garlic pairs well with most herbs, but use it sparingly with mint, chives and lemon balm.
DID YOU KNOW … when minced garlic touches an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice), it will turn blueish-green? It’s still fine to use though.
TIP: Burnt garlic has a very distinct taste, so add it to your sauce near the end to avoid burning it.
HERE AT 3 SONS WE USE 10 POUNDS OF FRESH GARLIC WEEKLY!
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3 Sons Italian Restaurant & Bar
14805 West 64th Ave., Arvada