Rosemary is considered to be one of the most versatile and hardy variety among the herb group. It can be used for its medicinal applications but it is more popularly used in the kitchen as essential food flavoring.
Cooking with rosemary can have an effect both on the taste and the smell of food that is why it is one of the more popular herbs used in cooking. Though the rosemary is oftentimes related to Mediterranean taste, cooking with rosemary is not difficult to incorporate in a variety of dishes, Mediterranean or not.
Its bitter but piney flavor is a good match with red meat such as lamb and beef, poultry, fish and roasted dishes. Recent history shows that cooking with rosemary has also become popular in bread recipes.
The rosemary herb may be used in its fresh or dried form. Since rosemary is a woody herb, its fragrant needle-like leaves have a tendency to be hard and coarse. For cooking with fresh rosemary, cut a few sprigs from the plant and wash them thoroughly in running water. Remove the leaves from the sprig and chop them into fine bits before adding to the dish. Fresh rosemary is perfect for recipes that call for braising the meat since this allows the rosemary to soften and its flavor to permeate the meat. It is also used for marinades and for quick cooking recipes where the flavor of the rosemary is the star of the dish
Dried rosemary may be used for the same cooking purpose as fresh rosemary. However, it is ideal to crush or finely chop the dried rosemary first before using since they are very hardy even when cooked. Another way to deal with the hardiness when cooking with rosemary is to put them inside a cheese cloth when cooking dishes with soups or sauces so that they may be removed later on before serving. This allows the flavor of the rosemary to marry with the dish without disrupting the texture of the food. Dried rosemary is usually used during the cold season when fresh rosemary is not easily available.
Aside from using in marinades, another way to have the distinct rosemary flavor in food is to use the sprigs of fresh rosemary as skewers when cooking barbecues. Different meats may also be flavored with rosemary by simply adding the sprigs to the coal when barbecuing.
Apart from giving depth to the flavor of food, cooking with rosemary is also good for the body since it is high in Vitamin B6, iron and calcium. It is also said to have cancer-preventing properties because it contains quinone which is said to inhibit carcinogens from forming in the body.
Whether in fresh or dried form, cooking with rosemary is simple and fast. It is its versatility that makes it ideal even for those who are just starting to cook.
Originally posted 2009-07-11 18:07:35.