What does parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme make you think of? Yes, maybe the Simon & Garfunkel album, but also the cozy herbs of fall. Herbs are a healthy way to add flavor and depth to your meals, which is why many of our favorite fall dishes are full of aromatic herbs, both fresh and dried.
From the woody aroma of sage and rosemary to the minty taste of thyme, we spoke with chefs who revealed their favorite herbs to cook with this fall. Before we get started on some of our favorites, Chef Mario Garcia of Cuba restaurant in New York City’s West Village explains the difference between dried and fresh herbs.
“Dried herbs tend to work best if they’re added during cooking so their flavor has time to infuse the whole dish,” he says. “Using fresh herbs is best when at the end of cooking, to finish a dish, like adding thyme just before a soup is done or cilantro on top of black bean soup. This way the flavors are still fresh and bright. I also like to use fresh herbs in sauces, salad dressings and other quick dishes since dried herbs don’t have enough time to really infuse these kinds of dishes.”
The smoky and grassy flavor of sage is one of those fall herbs that instantly reminds us of Thanksgiving dishes like turkey and stuffing, which is why Chef Francis Hogan from Bluestem Brasserie changes his entire menu to capitalize on the rich flavors of sage. He uses fresh sage to infuse squash, root vegetables, apples and pears with flavor, as well as his favorite dish of sweet potato gnocchi with roasted mushrooms. The intense flavor of the dried sage brings to life sausage and is also great as a seasoning rub for meats.
The piney aroma of rosemary makes it the perfect herb for flavoring dishes like roast potatoes, pork or pizza. Executive Chef Juan Carlos Murillo of Del Frisco’s Grille in Irvine, California says he uses rosemary for braising lamb, as well as in his mint jelly which keeps the flavor fresh and cool. You can also place a few leaves on top of chicken or stews to get that fall flavor.
The subtle minty flavor of thyme makes it a great addition to meats, such as poultry, as well as stuffing and soups. Chef Garcia loves using fresh thyme to add a little more flavor on top just before serving it, such as on top of soup, or with rosemary for his grilled skirt steak.
Parsley is used not only to flavor fall dishes, but it is also used as a garnish to provide color to a dish. Its mild and grassy flavor makes it a perfect garnish to add flavor to meats, vegetables and soups. Dried parsley is often used as a seasoning, while the fresh version is often used as a garnish.
Oregano is a fall herb that is often used in Italian dishes and adds its distinct flavor to meats, salads and salad dressings. After summer’s fresh basil and cilantro, Chef Chris Franz of Detroit’s The Rattlesnake Club loves to make a bundle of fresh herbs including oregano, sage and rosemary, called bouquet garni, to add to slow-cooked dishes like stews or braised meats like pork shoulder or lamb stew.
The fresh aroma and cooling taste of mint make it the perfect herb for fall desserts, especially those with chocolate, as well as a mint jelly for meats. This herb is also great in cocktails, teas and hot chocolate.
Coriander has a mild flavor similar to sage and is the perfect herb for fall dishes including sausages and seafood, as well as flavoring desserts like pastries and cooked fruit.
Feeling overwhelmed with the variety of fall herbs to choose from? Take some advice from culinary duo Amy Riolo and Luigi Diotaiuti and use Herbs de Provence, which is a mixture of the savory herbs of thyme, basil, marjoram, lavender, parsley, oregano, tarragon and bay powder along with rosemary and fennel.
This post was sponsored by Marie Callender’s Pot Pies. Delicious anytime.