Last summer, my husband built me a new garden, complete with raised beds, storage for all of my supplies and a gate to keep out the “neighbors” (deer and bunnies, not you Mark and Andrea). Weeding is so much easier now, with the beds built at hip height, that I’ve really renewed my love for gardening.
The plan for this season includes the usual suspects—tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, radishes, peas, flowers, fennel, chard and, of course, herbs. Herbs are one of my all-time gardening favorites because most of them continue to grow and produce all season long. I love the way their fragrances perfume the summer air, and they’re such pretty plants, too. I’ve taken to growing way more than I can use simply because I love the look of them; I even grow some herbs only for their blooms.
Few dishes make it to my table without a sprig of one or another herb on top. Certainly, they have aesthetic appeal, but the core reason I grow herbs at home is for their fresh flavor—thyme for chicken, mint for lamb, dill for salmon and egg salad, and basil on everything!
My favorite herb has always been rosemary. I use it in grain dishes, chicken and lamb recipes, and with a surprising number of sweet foods, too (finely chopped rosemary is a tasty addition to a shortbread cookie!) It’s beautiful and delicious with roasted grapes, which I love to serve on a flatbread with prosciutto, gorgonzola and honey or spoon over grilled salmon. Perhaps my favorite way to use rosemary, however, is in a rosemary pesto. Made similarly to traditional basil pesto, you can serve it with feta cheese on crackers, on a lamb chop or burger, and even with angel hair pasta and seared scallops.
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications. Find more at kowalskis.com.
Makes ~1 cup
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup fresh
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup freshly grated
Kowalski’s Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts or almonds
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. freshly grated
¼ cup (approximately)
virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste
In a food processor, process green onions, rosemary, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic and zest until a smooth, thick paste forms. With the processor running, slowly stream in oil until a loose paste forms. Add lemon juice and season to taste; pulse until combined.
Find Perron’s recipe for Panna Cotta with Rosemary-Grape Compote on woodburymag.com.