Provincial Thoughts

Something fantastic happened to me this weekend. It seems so silly, and yet I think it's going to change the way I approach my cooking in the future.

I discovered Herbes de Provence.
My new favorite herb combination is comprised of rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram.

No, it's not the first time that I've come across the blend. In fact, I've had a bit of "the south of France" in my cupboard for most of the time I've had my own kitchen. And yet, it eluded me. I think that the thought of using lavendar for savory cooking was just a bit beyond my mental palate's reach. Until now.

It all started with a trip to Penzey's on Friday afternoon. I conducted my usual "round" of the store to pick up the things on my list -- and then I lingered a bit, as I usually do, to contemplate some new possibilities. As I rounded the corner and glimpsed the dried rosemary and bouquet garni, my eyes fell on the jar of herbs de provence. And something moved me to pick up the jar and take a whiff.

I'd never been affected by the odor before. But, just then -- Sheer Heaven.

I don't know what flipped the switch in my head. But, I bought that jar of hdp before Peef could even argue with me about it. We happened to be grilling up some chicken on Sunday evening, and I was hunting through the spice cupboard to find the usual suspects. Somehow, my fingers grazed the brand new bottle of Herbs de Provence. I pulled it out of the cupboard, and crushed a liberal dose between my fingertips. The smell was positively intoxicating.

Imagine my absolute delight when the grilled chicken came back into the house. Those simple thighs were more aromatic, more flavorful... than just about anything I could imagine. And I think I'm hooked.

I've heard it's fantastic on roasted asparagus...

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