Your 'go to' guide for pairing flavours with herbs.

By Sarah Elizabeth John

Strawberries and cream, peanut butter and jam, bacon and eggs, chocolate and mint - excellent tasting combo's, am I right? Well, there is a science behind why these flavours pair so well together and it can be broken right down to a molecular level. Essentially, these foods that we love to taste together have molecular compounds in common.

Increasingly we notice chefs implementing the notion of molecular gastronomy in their cooking to achieve delicious results. Heston Blumenthal is a pioneer of this movement, and has gone on to discover amazing tasting, yet rather interesting combinations - caviar and white chocolate, anyone?

Today we're not taking it quite as far as Heston, but wanted to provide you with a handy guideline that you can put to use in your kitchen on a daily basis; to assist you in putting together a well balanced meal with epic flavour proportions. This table will prove especially handy for those of you with backyard herb gardens, I do hope we inspire some amazing creations with our ultimate guide to pairing flavours with herbs.

If you make use of our table this week or in the future, take a pic and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #THIflavourpairings, so we can check it out.

Herbs

Complementary flavours

Complementary proteins

Recipe ideas

Basil

Raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, garlic, onion, artichokes, eggplant, mushrooms, olives, capers

Chicken, turkey, pork

Roast chicken, basil pesto, bruschetta, or pretty much any Italian or Greek dish.

Bay leaf

Pears, tomatoes, artichokes, nuts, lentils,
mushrooms, potatoes, thyme, parsley, sage

Beef, chicken, tuna

Slow cooked stocks, soups, bolognaise or creamy sauces, add to the liquid you poach seafood in. 

Chives

Asparagus, olives, mushrooms, horseradish,
paprika, basil, cilantro, dill, fennel, parsley, tarragon

Nut & dairy cheese, eggs

Creamy sauces, soups, butters, dips.

Coriander

Avocados, apples, apricot, berries, tomatoes, cherries, coconut, nectarine, peach, plum,
tropical fruit, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, clove, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, turmeric.

Beef, chicken, fish, pork

Nori or rice paper rolls, noodle soups, Asian dishes.

Dill

Cucumber, yoghurt, carrots, cinnamon, ginger,
pepper, mustard, clovesanise, basil, cabbage,
capers, caraway, carrots, chives, coriander,
cucumbers, cumin,  fennel, garlic, ginger,
horseradish, mint, mustard, oregano, onion,
paprika, parsley

Salmon, chicken

Pickles, stews, tzatziki.

Fennel

Artichokes, basil, beans, cabbage, cheese,
cilantro, cinnamon, cucumber, cumin, dill,
eggplant, fenugreek, figs, garlic, lemon balm,
lentils, mint, olives, onion, oregano, parsley,
pork, thyme, tomatoes

White fish, chicken

Salads, coleslaws, soups, gratin.

Kaffir leaf

Banana, citrus, coconut, lemongrass,
tropical fruit, watermelon

Chicken, fish, tofu

Ice cream, granita, creamy tarts, refreshing drinks, cocktails, Asian style broths.

Lemongrass

Cherry, berries, citrus, coconut, ginger,
guava, kaffir leaf, coconut, tropical fruit, vanilla

 

Chicken, white fish

Thai flavours, broths, soups

Mint

Chocolate, potatoes, peas, strawberries,
ginger, cayenne, lemon

 

Pork

Herbal tea, chocolate cake, smoothies, juices

Oregano

Tomato, chilli, fennel, basil, cinnamon,
cumin, eggplant, fennel, garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, onion, parsley, thyme, tomatoes

 

Turkey, pork, beef

Pizza, roast beef, tomato sauces

Parsley

Butter, potatoes, basil, bay leaf, chives, dill,  
garlic, marjoram, mushrooms, grains, onion, oregano,thyme, tomatoes

 

Fish, chicken, eggs

Hearty soups, baked potatoes

Rosemary

Mushrooms, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, garlic

 

Beef, turkey

Roast meats

Sage

Apple, lemon, apples, bay leaf,  capers,
caraway, celery, citrus, garlic, ginger, marjoram, onions, paprika, parsley, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes

 

Beef, veal, pork, turkey

Roast beef, garlic butter, potato dishes

Thyme

Sumac,bananas, basil, bay leaf, beans, carrots, citrus, dill, garlic, mint, mushrooms, onion, oregano, parsley, sage

 

Turkey, pork, beef, fish, eggs

Roast beef, grilled fish


This table could well be limitless! With so many foods that could potentially be paired. So share with us in the comments below, what are your favourite ways to pair flavours with herbs? 



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August 22 2014

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