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JeanMarie Brownson: Use this green herb seasoning and marinade in two dishes for a versatile family meal

JeanMarie Brownson, Tribune Content Agency on

Fresh herbs overflow in the garden and at farmers markets in most of the country at this time of year. My 3-year-old granddaughter eats them by the handful straight from her garden. I prefer to scatter them with abandon over salads, roasted vegetables, rice bowls and anything from the grill.

This season, I’m whirling a variety of fresh herbs in the blender with green chile, garlic, olive oil and lime juice for a savory seasoning sauce that tastes great on everything from baked sweet potatoes to warm quinoa to grilled chicken. Think of this concoction as a savory green smoothie adding bold flavor to anything it touches.

Baby arugula forms the backbone of the seasoning sauce. From there, you can add whatever’s available. I like a combination of super-tender cilantro and slender chives with just a hint of mint. Fresh basil with a little thyme and oregano is another route to take.

The seasoning will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for several days. If making in advance, add the fresh lime juice at the last minute so the acid doesn’t cause the herbs to brown.

Turn the seasoning into a marinade for grilled chicken halves for a stunning presentation. Cooking the chicken under a weight, such as a cast-iron skillet or foil-covered brick, speeds up the cooking and ensures golden skin. Stir some of the green seasoning into mayonnaise and yogurt for a table sauce to serve with the chicken.

Green broccoli with the green herb seasoning is also a winning combination. Stir the combo into warm quinoa for a garden-fresh side or pile it over baby arugula for an attractive meatless main.

 

Green Herb Seasoning and Marinade

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups packed baby arugula, about 2 ounces

1 cup loosely packed small tender cilantro sprigs, about 1 ounce (or fresh basil leaves)

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