But my best discovery has been adding them as greens to salads. I never considered adding basil, mint, and thyme to a green salad. I felt the flavors would clash and overwhelm. But once I started experimenting, I was so excited at what a difference it makes, brightening the flavor of a simple salad, softening the sometimes harsh taste of raw spinach, and enhancing the dressing with a gentle boost of freshness.
I've also sought out recipes where I can use my new friends, like this one for a rice salad with summer vegetables.
This salad was my answer after coming home hot and tired with no plan for dinner. I had all the ingredients on hand, and once the rice was cooking, I had time to wash and chop the vegetables and herbs.
My combination of herbs included basil, parsley, mint, thyme, tarragon, and chives; the vegetables I had on hand were tomatoes, radishes, carrots, onions, and peas (which, I confess, were frozen and defrosted). The result was a terrific salad that I'm sure I'll be making again and again, trying different combinations of vegetables and herbs.
Rice and Summer Vegetable Salad
Makes 2 to 4 servings
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon flat leaf
2 tablespoons red wine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled
2 cups bite-size pieces of assorted vegetables (such as radishes,
tomatoes, peas, summer squash, or carrot ribbons)
1 cup (or more) torn mixed leafy greens and herbs
1/3 cup chopped red, yellow or white onions or
2 tablespoons slivered
1. Pulse the first four ingredients in a mini food processor or blender until combined. Season with salt and pepper. With processor running, slowly drizzle in oil. Process dressing until well blended.
2. Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with three tablespoons dressing and toss to coat. Serve remaining dressing on the side.
- From Bon Appetit magazine, June 2012