It’s a little like fairy dust. Sprinkle some fresh herbs on an ordinary dish and – presto! – you have an extraordinary dish.

Home cooks are discovering what professional chefs have known for ages. Fresh herbs can lift a dish to new heights.

The next time a recipe includes herbs, use fresh ones. You’ll notice the difference. There will be depth and fullness in every mouthful; the aroma will be unforgettable; and the visual presentation will tell everyone “this is special.”

Supermarkets carry fresh herbs in the produce section. They come in small quantities and are typically packaged in a plastic container that makes them easier to ship. What herbs you don’t use can be stored by standing them in a glass of water inside the refrigerator and covering them with a small plastic sandwich bag or plastic wrap.

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 pound Parmesan cheese
  • 7/8 to 1 cup olive oil

In a food processor grind all the ingredients until finely chopped with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the remaining oil and process until smooth.
Mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Press into a container and cover with a thin layer of oil. The oil will prevent exposure to air, which turns the pesto dark.

basil pesto in glass cup over tomatoes, walnut and parmesan on white wooden background
Grilled pork chops in sweet honey glaze, served in grill iron skillet with fresh thyme, rye bread and cherry tomatoes, vertical composition. Food still life. Selective focus
Honey & Herb Grilled Pork Roast
  • 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast, 1 cup beer, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 small onion, chopped finely, 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients, except pork roast. Put pork roast in large plastic bag (or plastic container). Pour marinade over pork. Marinate at least 4 hours in refrigerator, or overnight. Remove pork roast from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill covered (or bake at 350 degrees) for 30 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Simmer remaining marinade for at least 5 minutes, serve drizzled over sliced roast.

Chicken with herbs and lemon

3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs*, 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced, 3 whole boned chicken breasts, skinned and halved, salt and pepper, 2 lemons, 3 tablespoons sweet butter**
6 pieces aluminum foil, each large enough to wrap a chicken breast like a sandwich.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix herbs and garlic together in a bowl. Lightly pound or flatten the chicken, making the piece the same thickness all over. Arrange chicken pieces on foil strips. Season with salt and pepper. Spread one-sixth of the herb and garlic mixture on top. Slice the lemons and place over the herbs. Dot with butter. Fold up the packets and place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. (Serves 6)
* Suggested herb combinations (in roughly equal amounts):
Mint, dill, parsley OR  basil, oregano, thyme OR  tarragon, parsley, chives.

Chicken fillet with lemon and herb marinade . Delicious and nutritious dish with grilled.