Cooking with Rosemary – How to Use Rosemary in the Kitchen

Rosemary-topiaryIf you want to expand the repertoire of spices that you use in the kitchen and create dishes with more flair and zing, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with rosemary. Cooking with rosemary is a great way to add delicious flavor to meats and vegetables, and to make your dishes more exciting.

What Is Rosemary?

Rosemary is an herb from the mint family, which grows natively around the Mediterranean. It is not surprising, therefore, that it is used in many Italian, French, and Greek dishes. The plant itself grows in many varieties, with different levels of flavor and hardiness.

Rosemary has short leaves with a shape reminiscent of pine needles. The top of each leaf is a dark green, while the bottom runs from light green to a silvery shade. These leaves are the primary part of the plant used in cooking.

Fresh, dried, and ground rosemary can all be used in cooking. Unlike many spices, dried rosemary is actually the healthiest form. Rosemary can also be infused into an oil, wine, or tea.

How Does Rosemary Taste?

Rosemary has a strong, fragrant flavor that many people find similar to lemon or pine. It is slightly sharp and tangy. When burnt, rosemary takes on a charred, mustard-like flavor which can add smokiness to blackened and barbequed food. It has a slightly oily texture.

Does Rosemary Have Any Health Benefits?

Rosemary was originally grown by monks around the Mediterranean region for its health properties as well as its flavor. Especially when dried, rosemary is a source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, folates, and iron.

Rosemary is also famous for its soothing properties, its anti-inflammatory ingredients, and its effect on memory. It is sometimes added to fortified cereals as an anti-oxidant.

Rosemary should not be overused, as extremely high amounts of the herb can cause convulsions.

Which Dishes Work Best When Flavored with Rosemary?

Rosemary is a very versatile spice that can be used with a number of different dishes. A few examples include:

The tangy flavor of rosemary accentuates nearly any type of fish, including red snapper, sole, cod, and swordfish. Sprinkle rosemary, salt, and pepper over the fish before cooking for an easy and elegant dish.

Rosemary can spice up the bland flavor of chicken, turning it into a memorable dish. Mix rosemary and butter together and slide under the skin of a whole chicken, or sprinkle rosemary, garlic, and salt over chicken breasts before baking or frying.

Rosemary is one of the best spices to complement lamb, whether you are cooking lamb chops or an entire rack of lamb. Mix rosemary with fresh cloves of garlic for a delicious addition to any lamb dish.

Rosemary is a great way to perk up an otherwise-boring green salad. Throw fresh or dried rosemary into a mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other vegetables you like, and serve with an oil-and-vinegar dressing.

Rosemary makes a great companion to nearly any kind of potato dish. Try coating your French fries with rosemary before frying, or adding a pinch of rosemary to your mashed potatoes. Sprigs of rosemary leaves taste delicious with pan fried potatoes as well.

Mixed Vegetables
Blend rosemary with butter for a delicious and elegant topping for any kind of warm vegetables, from green beans to carrots to cauliflower.

Throw a handful of dried rosemary onto your barbeque coals to create a fragrant smoke that will add a lot of flavor to your meals. You can also sprinkle rosemary over ribs and other barbequed foods to create a pleasant smoky flavor as it cooks.

Try adding a hint of rosemary to puddings, ice creams, and sorbets for a uniquely delicious flavor.

Rosemary is popular in the kitchen because it can be used in so many different ways, both savory and sweet. Experimenting with this versatile herb can really stretch your cooking abilities, and add a wide variety of new flavors to your repertoire.

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