I had the idea of preparing seasoning cubes since I got the mortar and pestle. But then again, for one reason or another, I didn’t have the time to prepare them. The other evening though, I met with my flatmate and her sister after work and since we had to do some grocery shopping, I started hunting for fresh herbs.
I like using herbs, and generally for convenience I rely on dried ones. But the flavour of fresh ones is a thousand times better. It happens quite often though, especially for lack of time, that getting fresh herbs is a bit difficult, and unless you grow them on your own (I might think about that), the amounts you get in supermarkets are quite huge. Inevitably then, you use the amount required for the recipe and the rest withers in the vegetable drawer in the fridge.
What to do about it then? I am already preparing soffritto cubes to use when I do sauces or stews, so, why not chop a bunch of nice flavours and freeze them to have them ready to season? To prepare those lovely seasoning cubes, you also need a mortar with pestle, and an ice cube tray (I got a 40 wells one from Wilko, which has the perfect dimension I was looking for). After you filled the tray, put it in the freezer overnight and then you can either keep it and pop the cubes out when needed, or you can store the different cubes in freezer bags, and use the tray for some more!
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 bunch sage
- 1 bunch rosemary
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 shallot
- ½ lemon
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil
The procedure for all of them is very simple, you just need to finely chop the ingredients, mix them in the mortar with an addition of 15ml of olive oil and put them in the ice cube tray. Here you are the single mixtures:
Parsley & garlic: bunch of parsley (including stalks) + 4 cloves of garlic + 15ml olive oil. This is very good for fish, but also to season grilled vegetables. I personally love it in porcini mushrooms risotto (but it adds marvellous taste to any kind of risotto honestly!)
Thyme & shallot: bunch of thyme leaves + ½ shallot + 15ml olive oil. Amazing to add some nice flavour to a blunt grilled chicken or turkey breast. I discovered thyme recently, and I got absolutely addicted to it.
Sage & garlic: bunch of sage leaves + 3 cloves of garlic + 15ml olive oil. This is also excellent with meat, and to be honest with you guys I’m thinking about trying it in risotto with sausage and with gnocchi. It should be lovely!
Zesty rosemary & shallot: bunch of rosemary sprigs + ½ shallot + zest and juice of ½ lemon + 15ml olive oil. This goes excellently with roasted meat. And by that I mean proper roasts, but also with chicken rolls filled with raw ham and cheddar!
So, here you are a convenient way to store your fresh herbs if you don’t want (or you can’t in some cases) to dry them. And I also gave you a few suggestions about how to use them!