copyright, 2009, Maria Liberati
Editor: Erin Kuhns
Do you ever contemplate the perfect combination for a bouquet of flowers? Simple sunflowers with a few sprigs of baby’s breath add a spot of sunshine to even the dreariest room. A collection of lavender, daisies and poppies will certainly liven up your dinner table. But have you considered a bouquet of fresh thyme, rosemary and Italian parsley?
Another type of bouquet is a bouquet garni: gather a variety of fresh herbs together and instead of standing them in Grandma’s favorite vase, fasten them together with a string and plunge them into your next pot of soup. That’s right—you drown them.
A bouquet garni is a unique way of flavouring your favorite soups, stews or hot drinks. It works particularly well when your creation is one that demands the flavours of fresh herbs and spices without the small bits swimming around. Traditionally, a bouquet garni is fashioned out of fresh parsley, thyme and a bay leaf. But the real beauty of a bouquet garni is that you can be as creative as you wish when putting one together.
There are two popular ways to create a bouquet garni: tie a string around the stems, steep the herbs in your pot and tie the other end of the string to the pot’s handle; or bundle your herbs in a piece of cheesecloth—you could add garlic and peppercorns, too—and pop it into your creation. Either way, the essence of the herbs seeps into your dish while it simmers.
Some ideas for bouguet garni:
Chicken soup: Parsley, lovage & basil
Beef consommé: Basil, thyme, savory & Italian parsley
Hot apple cider: Cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange peel & whole cloves
The combinations of herbs you can use in a bouquet garni are endless! There are no set rules to creating a bouquet garni so have fun inventing your own concoctions. And when it is serving time, complement your table with a beautiful spread of flowers—propped up in Grandma’s favorite vase, of course—and your meal will be complete.
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