Herb Garden

The other night my friend Tom was in town. I hadn’t seen him in 8 years. I’ve known him for 20. Which is staggering. How can we be so old?! We picked up right where we left off as if I’d seen him last week though.

For dinner, I had fingerling potatoes and spring onions. Tiny chioggia beets. A skirt steak. My standard arugula and shallots. I didn’t know exactly what I would do with them but these ingredients are so familiar to me. Dear like Tom in a way. And happily, I had loads of fresh herbs in the garden so I put them to work.

If you’re not growing sage, rosemary and thyme, you might want to think about getting some starts.  Yesterday my herb garden turned my sort of mundane ingredients into something to write about. Sauteed spring onions got a boost from English thyme and sage. Sage and rosemary perfumed the potatoes; the sage shatteringly crisp and glittering with sea salt. Rosemary and  thyme chopped fine scented the steak. What a big payoff for almost no extra effort!

As I put the dinner together while drinking chai with Tom, I made several trips outside to the herb garden, gathering sprigs of thyme, twigs of rosemary and silvery sage leaves. Later, we ate dinner in the garden, though it was barely warm enough for it. Tom wore his coat and I had to get a thick sweater. Still, there is something wonderful about cooking from the garden and then eating out there.

Fresh Herb and Garlic Rub for Steaks

  • 2 lbs skirt steak
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp kosher sea salt
  • a small handful of English thyme, rinsed and dried
  • a sprig of rosemary, rinsed and dried
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. With a chef’s knife, chop the garlic and salt together until very finely minced. Add the thyme leaves and rosemary leaves and continue to chop until you have a rough paste. Add the black pepper. Rub all over the meat and leave on the counter until ready to grill (Ok, if it’s more than 1/2 an hour, you may want to refrigerate it!)
  2. When it’s time, brush the steak with olive oil and grill for 2-3 minutes per side over high heat. Let it sit uncovered and off the grill for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.


Roast Potatoes with Herbs from the Garden

  • 1lb fingerling potatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • a small handful of safe leaves
  • (1) 4 inch sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 a dozen cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise.
  3. Toss all ingredients together in a large baking dish where the potatoes fit in one layer without crowding.
  4. Roast the potatoes for 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
  5. If you are serving bread also, the soft roast garlic can be squeezed out onto the buttered bread.

Seared Purple Spring Onions

  • 1 bunch purple spring onions, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • small handful English thyme
  • 6 small sage leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Quarter the spring onions.
  2. Heat a large heavy saute on medium high for 2 minutes
  3. Add olive oil to pan and then spring onions and thyme.
  4. Saute for 3-4 minutes on their cut sides until golden and crisp.
  5. Add sage leaves and turn down the heat for 2 minutes to allow the sage to scent the onions.
  6. Toss with the roast potatoes  - so beautiful!

I served the steak and potatoes and onions with beet salad - tiny roast chioggias this time – roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees in their own roasting pan alongside the potatoes.

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One Response to Herb Garden

  1. Greetings from new hampSHA Sarah! All is going well and I hope summer has finally arrived. I’m sure you found it on your epic roadtrip to Calif.
    Question for you — my dad is turning 80 and we want to make a really good chocolate cake this week. I searched your website and found nothing like a basic, yummy chocolate cake. Any thoughts oh wise one of the culinary kitchen?

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