How do you learn what herbs compliment which dishes?

I don’t actually have any herbs at the moment…but when I do use herbs I always use the wrong ones.

So If I do start using herbs in the meals I already cook…should I look up recipes to see what other people use?

Or is there a rule?

7 thoughts on “How do you learn what herbs compliment which dishes?

  1. I usually check for recipes on the internet; some sites are good about giving you alternatives for spices not resadily available.

    No Rules – if it smells good and tastes good, add it.

  2. Basil – minty — used in Mediterranean and Italian food

    Bay leaf – pungent, woodsy –used to flavor soups, stews
    (remove before serving)

    Chives – mild onion flavor — used in appetizers, eggs, salads

    Cilantro – aromatic — used in Asian, Caribbean and Latin American cooking

    Dill – tangy, lemony — used with fish, salads, breads, sauces, eggs, vegetables

    Marjoram – mild, sweet — used with lamb, veal, poultry, fish, stews, soups, vegetables

    Oregano – robust, pungent — used in pizza sauce or any Italian food, soups, vegetables, chicken

    Parsley – bold — used with any roasted meat, poultry, seafood, stuffing, soups, tomato sauces

    Sage – slightly bitter, musty — used with poultry, sausage, stuffing

    Tarragon – minty, lemony — used in French cooking

    Thyme – minty, lemony — used with poultry, meat, seafood, soups

    Herb Tips —
    Dried herbs can be added early in the cooking process as they require longer exposure to the heat to release flavor.
    Fresh herbs should be added at end of cooking time.

  3. I just always kind of know the flavors in my head and seem to know what will work. Fresh is best and doesn’t take as much. I love to cook and see flavors like pictures in my mind…I have Asperger’s Syndrome too though. I guess that’s a benefit.

    Or, hee, you could always ask Herb Tarlek from “WKRP In Cincinnati” in reference to that ‘dish’ Jennifer Marlowe….(I couldn’t resist-you know me)

  4. well id phone up any colleges that do catering courses and sign up for one they will teach you what herbs to use for meals, and you may gain a qualification at the same time, which could gain you a secondary income like cocktail parties for people who like to entertain, but cant cook.

  5. I love to cook and have been told that I’m a really good cook, but have absolutely no creativity when it comes to working without a recipe. I believe that I have every spice/herb/seasoning known to man but I’m at a loss without a recipe to guide me! My 12 year old granddaughter is a great help to me in the kitchen cause she’s a Food Network addict! She watches it all the time and heads for the kitchen and applies what she’s watched!
    The dried herbs and spices will tell you on the container what foods they compliment the most, but I’ve never been brave enough to just throw something in at random! Unless it’s in the recipe, or someone else has tried it with success, I just play it safe!


    ALLSPICE Berry of a Caribbean tree with the combined flavor of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Uses: cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, breads, meats, eggs, fish, gravies, pickles.

    ANISE Licorice-flavored member of the carrot family grown in Spain, Mexico, and India. Uses: breads, pastries, cookies, candies, meat, poultry, fruits.

    CARDAMOM Aromatic fruit of zinziberaceous plants grown in Ceylon, India, and Central America. Uses: breads, cakes, cookies, pastries, fruits, meats, poultry, fish.

    CINNAMON The inner bark of Cinnamon zeylancium which is grown in Ceyon. Cassia cinnamon also grows in the Middle East and is more commonly used. Uses: cookies, cakes, pies, puddings, pickles, breads, sauces, vegetables.

    CLOVES Pungent flavor buds of the clove tree. Grown in the Netherlands, East Indies, Zanzibar, and Madagascar. Uses: cakes, pies, puddings, sauces, pork, lamb, pickles, fruits, breads, cookies.

    GINGER Plant grown in semi-tropical countries. Uses: cakes, cookies, pies, sweet-and-sour dishes, fruits, poultry, meats, vegetables.

    MACE Fibrous husk of nutmeg Uses: sauces, gravies, soups, cakes, cookies, pies, veal, fish, stews, egg and cheese dishes, vegetables.

    MUSTARD Bitter and biting plant. Uses: sauces, pickles, salad dressings, deviled foods, dips, egg dishes, marinades, pork, ham, corned beef.

    NUTMEG Mellow, sweet, nutty seed of the Myristica tree grown in the Netherlands East Indies and British West Indies. Uses: cookies, cakes, breads, pies, meats, fruits, vegetables, eggs, sauces.

    PAPRIKA Sweet Red Pepper Uses: shellfish, fish, salad dressings, poultry, vegetables, soups.
    PARSLEY Biennial herb Uses: meats, vegetables, salads.

    POPPY SEED Tiny, nutty-flavored seed of the poppy. Uses: breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, salads.

    SAFFRON The stigma of the Crocus sativus. Uses: breads, cakes, rice, meats, poultry, fish.
    SESAME An aromatic seed with a nutty flavor. Uses: breads, pastries, salads, cookies.

    TURMERIC Deep, yellow-orange root of an Asian plant related to ginger. Uses: pickles, chutneys, curries, dressings, dips.

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