Tag Archives: Thyme

Thyme, as essential as salt and pepper

Thyme in a pot

Thyme has inspired poetic praise from Virgil to Kipling, who wrote of “wind-bit thyme that smells of dawn in Paradise”.  It is one of the great culinary herbs of European cookery.

Thyme deserves a place right beside salt and pepper in the kitchen. Its amiable and positive flavour works in more dishes than any other robust culinary herb. Whether it’s humming in the background or conspicuously assertive, thyme seems to go with everything in the cooking pot. Another virtue is that it aids the digestion of fatty foods which makes it very useful in a health promoting diet.

Thyme can be added at any point in the cooking process, from the beginning of a stew to a last minute sprinkle. Oftentimes it is added both at the beginning and again a few minutes before serving to slow cooked dishes.

Use thyme judiciously until you are familiar with its pungency. As long as you match the quantity of the herb to the robustness of the other ingredients, thyme is comfortable with nearly any savoury dish. You can be as timid or as daring as you wish, using anywhere between half a teaspoon and one tablespoon per serving. The smaller amount will linger softly whilst the larger amount is best with something that has its own assertive flavour like a grilled leg of lamb.

Chopped fresh leaves are much more pungent than dried leaves. When converting between the two, start with equal amounts and adjust according to taste.

I trust you’ll add this wonderful herb to your cooking repertoire.

Tossed Salad with Thyme Vinaigrette

Inspired by the traditional Greek salad this dish is always popular when served at our classes or family gatherings. The baby salad greens are optional but they do add a wonderful dimension to the salad.

500g green cabbage, shredded (I liked to use savoy)
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
150g black olives, pitted and halved
225g feta cheese, crumbled
120ml olive oil
about 3 tbsp. red or white wine vinegar, herb vinegar or lemon juice to taste
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 big handful baby salad greens (optional)

In a large salad bowl, toss the cabbage, onion, olives and feta until thoroughly mixed. In a small mixing bowl whisk the olive oil, vinegar, thyme and salt. When emulsified toss with the salad. Refrigerate the salad for 1 to 2 hours to allow the flavours to develop. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Just before serving, toss the bay greens with the salad and season with pepper.

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Salad of Green Lentils from Le Puy AOP

Lentils that are considered to be the finest are the green Lentils from Le Puy en Velay area, in the mountains south west of Lyon. Here is an easy recipe for a tasty and healthy summer salad. After preparation you can also add slices of smoked sausage, ham, chicken or confit. Let your taste buds guide you.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

· 300g of Green Lentils du Puy

· 3 cloves of garlic

· 2 onions

· 15g butter

· 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

· 1 Bay leaf chopped to produce 30ml

· 700ml dry white wine

· 6 soup spoons of olive oil

· 15ml soup spoons of sherry vinegar

· 15ml Dijon mustard

· Chopped chives, Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Wash the lentils and check for any little grains of sand

Peal the garlic and cut in half, and peel and chop onions roughly

Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan, add the butter onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, stir gently using a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes

Add the lentils and mix in well, add the white wine, bring to the boil then lower the heat, cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes

Prepare the vinaigrette sauce with the olive oil, sherry vinegar, mustard, and the chopped chives. Add salt and pepper. Whisk until blended.

Strain the cooked lentils, and put in a salad bowl, remove the thyme and bay leaf

Pour the vinaigrette over the warm lentils and mix in well. Serve warm or cold

Serve accompanied by fresh crisp bread and a glass of wine

Bon appetit!