The building blocks of any deliciously bright summer recipe are always a certain kind of delicate combination of sea salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, garlic, lemons, and a variety of incredibly fresh herbs. Summer dishes are what we look forward to all year round for they are comprised of the sweetest fruits and crispiest vegetables sparking so much joy and injecting us with ripe nutrients in each bite.
My meals wouldn’t be anything if it weren’t for fresh herbs. They create layers of powerful flavor adding dimension and complexity to the most basic of recipes. Pasta with a simple store-bought tomato sauce gets an instant boost of life when fresh basil and raw garlic are added.
When preparing global cuisines, whether it be southeast Asian or Italian, it’s critical to the authenticity of the dish that herbs indigenous to that region or similar in flavor are used in keeping with the integrity of the recipe.
Below are combinations of fresh herbs listed with nutritional benefits that complement cuisines perfectly. As an addition to any dish, they can be finely and rough chopped or picked leaf by leaf. With this knowledge in tow, successful summer and year-round cooking is a sure bet.
Asian Blend (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese)
- Mint – Improves Digestion, Reduces Stress
- Cilantro – Removes Heavy Metals, Vitamin A
- Green Onion – Antiviral, Antioxidant
- Thai Basil – Heart Health, Anti-inflammatory
Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Blend (Greek, Italian, Spanish, Israeli)
- Curly Parsley – Vitamin C, Blood Purifier
- Thyme – Anti- Viral, Eases Sore Throat
- Oregano – Detoxifying, Boosts Immunity
- Genovese Basil – Vitamin K, Anti-Anxiety
- Mint – Brain Function, Combats Colds and Flu
- Euro Blend (French, English)
A finely chopped combination of these herbs called Fines Herbs is a classic foundation for French cuisine.
- Tarragon – Reduces Appetite, Sleep Aid
- Chervil – High Blood Pressure, Eczema
- Chives – Cancer Prevention, Mood Elevator
- Parsley – Prostate Health, Antioxidants