Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Herb Substitutions: what to use when you can't find what you were looking for.

I know, I know, it's been WAY too long since my last post. I definitely have had massive pangs of guilt every day that went by and I hadn't posted. But I promise, I've had a good reason. Apart from the standard busy work and family being in town, I also got an audition for MasterChef. Unfortunately, it didn't go anywhere, but I had an amazing time trying. I did a lot of cooking in preparation, fed a lot of people a fantastic triple chocolate praline tart with raspberry coulis (sorry about the slightly dodgy picture), and taught myself (kinda) how to confit trout. It might not be up to professional standards, but I was still really proud of myself. But that's now over, so it's back to everyday life, everyday cooking, and more regular blog posts.
When I was trying to figure out what to cook for the audition, I got reminded of how frustrating it was when you couldn't find the specific fresh herb you wanted. Ever tried to find fresh lemon verbena? Or chervil when you need it? I swear, it's like that perfect new dress...you can never find it when you're shopping for it.

So I thought it might be useful to find a list of herb substitutions. You might not always be able to, or want to swap herbs out, but for an everyday meal, there's no reason that tarragon can't work just as chervil. It also helps if there's a particular herb you hate, but still want to make a specific dish.

Here's a substitution list I've found. I have to admit, I don't agree with some of it (cilantro and parsley inter-changeable?!?), but maybe the substitutions are less overpowering and more widely liked than the original herb. This list is also for fresh herbs, not spices...spices is still to come.

Basil: oregano or thyme
Chervil: Tarragon or parsley
Chives: green onions/scallions or onion
Cilantro: parsley
Marjoram: basil, thyme or savory
Mint: basil, marjoram or rosemary
Oregano: thyme or basil
Parsley: chervil or cilantro
Rosemary: thyme, tarragon or savory
Sage: savory, marjoram or rosemary
Savory: thyme, marjoram or sage
Tarragon: chervil
Thyme: basil, marjoram, oregano or savory

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