Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Herbes de Provence

When I started cooking for our family a few years ago I came upon many ingredients I had never heard of before.  One ingredient was Herbes de Provence.  Where is or what is Provence anyway?

A cookbook suggested it was a mix of Italian spices, so not having any Herbs de Provence on hand, I used dried basil and oregano for the recipe.

I now know the flavor is more complex and originated from the Provence area of south eastern France, adjacent to Italy. Herbes de Provence today is a blend of basil, thyme, fennel, (some also add savory) and lavender to be used on meat, fish, pasta and pizza.

The lavender was probably a later addition to the original blend.  Some suggest the truly original blend of dried herbs used in that region consisted of only sage, thyme and basil.

You can buy your Herbs de Provence pre-mixed, or acquire your own dried herbs and blend them yourself.

When a recipe calls for Herbs de Provence, don't substitute.  Try the real thing.  Your taste buds will be glad.

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