Many of us enjoy growing fresh herbs, but sometimes we can't use them up fast enough. They grow better if trimmed frequently, but since we might not do as much cooking during the summer months, our plants can get a bit leggy.
One solution is to add the herbs to salads. Some snips of fresh parsley, basil, tarragon and cilantro can really brighten a run-of-the-mill green salad. Avoid using strong-tasting herbs like rosemary, marjoram and oregano, which can overwhelm the delicate flavors of many greens.
For fun, try growing some lesser-known herbs that are tailor-made for salads: sorrel, borage, chervil and lovage. It takes some experimentation to find the right combinations -- especially when combining them with boldly flavored greens, like arugula and radicchio.
Here's a simple Herb Salad recipe based on one of Thomas Keller's recipes. It's very loose, so use the herbs you have on hand in whatever amounts appeal to you.
- One head of Bibb lettuce
- Chopped herbs: Recommended are 1 tbs. each of chives, tarragon, Italian (flat-leaf) parsley and chervil
- Canola oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Juice of half a lemon
- Remove the core of the lettuce and tear the leaves into pieces. Refresh them in a bowl of cold water, then dry with towels or in a salad spinner.
- Make the vinaigrette: Mix 3/8 cup oil, 2 tbs. vinegar and a dollop of mustard in a blender for 15 seconds.
- Place the leaves in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the herb mixture. Toss gently with 2 tbs. of vinaigrette and the fresh lemon juice before serving.