Learn the basics of herbs with Carla Hall of Top Chef New York. She’ll show you the different categories of everyday fresh herbs and their suggested uses. You’ll explain what herbs to use in different methods of cooking and why.Learn the basics of herbs with Carla Hall of Top Chef New York. She’ll show you the different categories of everyday fresh herbs and their suggested uses. You’ll explain what herbs to use in different methods of cooking and why.
[MUSIC] Oh yeah. Hi, welcome to Top Chef University. I'm Carla, finalist from Top Chef New York. Our first course is all about the basics. And in this lesson we're talking about herbs. Now, herbs are a vital component to any good dish. Nowadays, there's a huge selection of herbs available at the grocery store, so we'll discuss the different varieties of herbs, both tender and robust. We'll tell you when to use them fresh, and when to use them dry. We'll teach you some essential storage techniques to make sure that your herbs retain their freshness. So let's begin. The use of the right herb in a dish can transform it from bland to delicious. And there's so many now available that it can often be daunting to know how and when to use them. There are essentially two different varieties we'll go through today tender herbs and robust herbs. Herbs will soon take the pride of place in your kitchen and give you exciting new ideas to improve your favorite meals. Now you can you can get most of these varieties of herbs as a dry product and they are useful I mean lets be honest As dried herbs keep longer. They can be useful as an emergency back up but if you really want your flavors to pop out and add depth to your dishes there is no substitute for fresh herbs with their brightness of flavor. I mean fresh herbs are becoming more accessible and readily available from your supermarket. And I'll show you in a bit how to store them so they keep longer in your fridge. So let's start with the tender herbs. We have basil, chives, cilantro, mint, chervil, tarragon, dill, and parsley. Now, with parsley we have flat leaf and curly parsley. These are some of the most versatile herbs And because they are quite delicate, they're generally added at the end of cooking. Now, basil has a slightly peppery and liquorice-like flavor, often used in Mediterranean dishes, let's say. You can grow it very easily at home, and because the leaves are so delicate, they should be torn by hand and added right at the end of cooking. Basil goes great on a summer salad and many pasts dishes. I mean how often have you seen them paired with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, right. Now, chives have a very delicate onion like taste, and are most commonly cut and used as a garnish, especially for soups. Although they will go great in dips, salads, and dumplings, Cilantro. It has a bold fragrant flavor, commonly used in Asian cuisine. Now people either love it or hate it, and I bet you know at least three people, three of your friends who hate cilantro. But it is fantastic in salsas, salads, and stews. Now, mint has a strong zing to a dish and makes it vibrant and refreshing. It's a very versatile herb and can be used with meats as well as vegetables and drinks and desserts. And we look for bright green leaves that aren't bruised or wilted. Mint with gamey meats like lamb Right? Provide a fantastic contrast and it also works well with spring vegetables such as green beans and what? What? Did I hear ya? Uh-huh. That's right, baby peas y'all. You know I love those peas. Now, there are two main varieties of parsley, curly and flat leaf. Curly parsley has a grassy flavor and fibrous texture. It's more robust and well used thrown in salads or finished sauces. Flat leaf parsley has the same grassy flavor but it's more delicate. And finally, tarragon. Which has an anise flavor, that becomes much stronger with heat. So be careful how much you use. This herb goes well with cheese and tomato dishes, as well as with chicken and fish. Now, moving on to the robust herbs. Generally speaking, you want to add these during the actual cooking process, to really release their flavor. We'll cover a few of the most useful herbs here. Bay leafs. These are an essential ingredient in mediterranean, french, and indian cuisine. I mean, they're really beautiful. Bay leaves add a rich, savory, depth when added to stocks, soups, and sauces. But make sure you remove the leaves before the serving. I mean, that's not cute. Marjoram. Marjoram has a soft, you know, It's a soft, sweet flavor. Crush it in your hands to release the flavor for a wide range of dishes ranging from tomato sauces to pork and lamb. Now, oregano is a pungent herb that is similar to marjoram, but more savory, often added to tomato dishes. It's also delicious as a seasoning for seafood and poultry. That smells so good, rosemary is another very pungent but aromatic herb. It's small needles are fantastic with roast. And they give a wonderful Mediterranean flavor to most dishes. Rosemary is so strong so a little goes a long way and you can even use these stems as a skewer. [BLANK_AUDIO] Sage could have a bitter taste. So, it's usually good in a rich dish. The longer you cook it, the more mellow its flavor becomes. If you over do it, your dish is done, I'm just telling you, done. Thyme is one of the most versatile herbs in cooking. and these little leaves add a wonderful depth of flavor to any dish. So, right, now we'll cover some very quick techniques for using herbs. Often dishes will call for just a sprig or a stem to be added. Other recipes call for a handful of leaves. Just use your hands. There's no need to be delicate. There's no need for a recipe. There's no need for a long list of people telling you what to do. So for woody stems, such as rosemary, you can run your fingers right down the stem from the top to the bottom to remove the individual needles. Just like that. It's so simple. Now, a bouquet garnet. Which in French is literally a bouquet of aromatic herbs, which gives wonderful flavor to soups and broths. Right? Very simple and they are so easy to make. And you'll love experimenting with different herb combinations. A classic garnish consists of bay leaves, thyme, parsley stems, and black peppercorns. And you can tie it together here in a cheesecloth just like this. [BLANK_AUDIO] So simple. Now your gonna use this when you know you want to take this out. You can just simply put it in your soup and take it right out. Another way to put all of those same herbs together without the peppercorns is to tie the bundle together with some kitchen twine. Now, remember that these are delicate herbs some of them. So their going to come off in your soup. So this is perfect when you actually are straining the soup and you leave all of this behind, Another preparation of the bouquet garni can be done in this piece of leek. You just put the same herbs in here, I'm not using the peppercorns, and you just wrap it up like this. I mean, the leek adds another layer of flavor for your sauce or stew, or soup, okay? Okay, right. Now let's talk about storing though herbs. Grab a glass a jelly jar or whatever. Think of your fresh herb like flowers. Change your water daily and they will last for a week or so. For a delicate herb like cilantro. Place them in a dump paper towel and then wrap them in film, and that's it. Keep them in a fridge, and they're ready to go. Now, we've covered some of the most common and delicious herbs available. And we will be referring to them often in up coming lessons. Don't be afraid to experiment with your cooking to create some truly flavorful dishes. In the next lesson, we'll spice it up with, what else? Spices. [MUSIC]