The addition of fresh herbs breathes life into dishes. Herbs are vibrant, bright and introduce flavor that is so startlingly different from dried herbs that I can never understand recipes that imply they are interchangeable.
In Italy I learned to make spaghetti with garlic, olive oil, chile flakes and parsley. It wasn't just the color contrast but the lively springiness of the parsley that made this simple dish so wonderful. Likewise sage leaves crisped up in butter or olive oil lend intensity and crunch, a handful of cilantro in a tossed green salad gives it a lemony zing and a sprinkle of chives on smoked salmon adds a delicate, almost sweet oniony flavor.
I have a little herb garden and I do mean little. A harvest of herbs from my window box is roughly equal to a generous garnish, so I have to keep raiding my mother's herb garden and buying herbs if I want to cook with them. Last week I got a chance to try Daregal fresh frozen herbs and found them to be surprisingly convenient and fresh tasting. I made a lovely omelette filled with asparagus and Jarlsberg cheese and a couple of pinches of Daregal frozen dill. This filling combination feels very Scandinavian to me though I have no idea if it really is...
3-4 asparagus, a couple tablespoons sliced
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon shredded Jarlsberg cheese
pinch of dill, fresh or frozen is fine
Beat the eggs in a small bowl until foamy. Thinly slice the tips and about half of the asparagus stems, about 1/3 cup total. Heat a non-stick pan and add a splash of water and the asparagus; simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and set aside. Wipe the pan clean. Add the butter to the pan and heat over medium low heat until melted. Pour in the beaten eggs, swirl to cover the pan with the beaten eggs and let set slightly. Sprinkle the asparagus, dill and cheese on the eggs and cook until barely dry, then flip onto a plate and serve.