herbs & spice & everything nice
SIMPLE RECIPES THAT SPOTLIGHT FRESH SEASONINGS
RECIPES AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARISTA BENNETT
There’s an art to the perfect seasoning. You can cook meats and vegetables at the right temperature with the ideal portion of sauce, but if the seasoning is off, skilled execution isn’t worth its weight in, well, salt. When done right, fresh herbs and spices can elevate the marinade on an otherwise simple roasted chicken breast recipe. Spices make easy pancakes fit for a celebration. And herb-laced salt can make roast potatoes the star side dish of an evening meal. It takes time to develop intuitive seasoning. But you can start today by focusing on fresh herbs and spices to bring warmth and flavor to your food and make everyday meals just a bit more special.
ROASTED NEW POTATOES WITH HERB SALT AND LEMON
If there is one recipe my family adores at Sunday dinner, it’s this one. The potatoes are perfectly crisped and laced with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon, and they pair well with protein dishes.
Serves 4 to 6
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2½ to 3 pounds of small new potatoes, washed and dried
- 2 teaspoons herb salt (recipe below)
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Add the new potatoes and toss to coat.
Pour the potatoes in a single layer onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of the herb salt and the ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Roast the potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes or until brown and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes. Then add them to a bowl and toss one more time with the remaining 1 teaspoon of herb salt.
Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl or platter and serve warm.
sauces + seasonings
EASY HERB PESTO
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- ½ cup parsley leaves, packed
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ½ to ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, chives, oregano, garlic, Parmesan, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ½ cup olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add additional olive oil if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep any leftover pesto in a covered container in the refrigerator. Holds well for about 7 days.
FRESH HERB SALT
- ½ cup kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
Mix all the ingredients together and store in a lidded glass jar. I like to put my herb salt in an 8-ounce jelly jar.
ITALIAN HERB PESTO–MARINATED ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH MOZZARELLA
Chicken isn’t always the easiest ingredient to work with. Chicken breasts can dry out quickly if cooked to long and they typically need quite a few ingredients added to the recipe for flavor. But when you marinate them just right, they are delicious. This delightful recipe marinates chicken in an easy herb pesto. It’s topped with mozzarella cheese, baked, and then garnished with fresh tomatoes and a little more pesto. The short list of ingredients is on the long list of reasons to love this recipe.
To marinate the chicken:
- 4 chicken breasts
- ½ cup Easy Herb Pesto (recipe above)
To prepare the chicken:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup Easy Herb Pesto (recipe above)
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese
- 1 to 2 fresh tomatoes, diced for garnish
Place a chicken breast on a chopping board, and with your hand flat on top slice into one side of the breast, starting at the thicker end and ending at the thinner end, but don’t slice all the way through. You just want to create a little pocket to add extra Easy Herb Pesto before baking.
Once you’ve sliced the 4 chicken breasts, add them and ½ cup pesto in a glass or ceramic dish or a plastic bag. Make sure the chicken is nicely covered in the pesto. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the used marinade. Place the chicken in a baking dish and add a little more of the pesto to the pocket of each chicken breast, reserving at least ¼ cup for garnishing the finished chicken.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Plate each chicken breast and dollop with a little pesto on top. Garnish with diced fresh tomatoes and serve.