Thyme is an aromatic herb in the mint family. It has a savory, woodsy flavor with a hint of earthiness and mint. While this herb is relatively easy to use, it can ruin a dish if you misuse it. If you are not familiar with it and want to know how to get the most flavorful results, here are some of the best ways to use thyme.
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In Italian tomato-based sauce
Like its relatives marjoram and basil, thyme is a good addition to pasta sauces. Its earthy and minty qualities pair well with the acidity and fruity sweetness of tomatoes. The pairing of thyme with tomato also works when you add it to pizza sauce. Thyme not only pairs well with the tomato in both sauces, but it also pairs with the other seasonings in the sauces, including oregano and garlic.
In classic French dishes
Thyme is one of the herbs that shows up again and again in French recipes. You will need it if you are making an authentic bouquet garni, which is the set of herbs — sometimes wrapped in cheesecloth — used in traditional dishes like coq au vin and bouillabaisse. Thyme is also used in herbes de Provence, which is another French herb blend. Herbes de Provence is the group of herbs that show up most often in Provencal cooking. It gets used in dishes like tomates farcies and chicken Provencal.
Thyme is one of the main ingredients in the Middle Eastern herb and spice blend known as za’atar. Along with thyme, za’atar may also contain salt along with sesame seeds and sumac. A za’atar blend may also include other herbs similar to thyme, like marjoram and oregano. You can use za’atar in the traditional Middle Eastern way, by sprinkling it on as a condiment at the table. Alternatively, you can use it as an element in your dry rubs where it can provide herbal notes.
To make Creole spice
Thyme is one of the popular ingredients in Louisiana’s classic seasoning blend, Creole spice. Creole spice is primarily associated with dishes from New Orleans in particular. Food from Louisiana contains elements found in food cultures from all over the world, including different parts of Europe and Africa, as well as Native American cooking. The use of thyme in creole spice most likely comes from the heavy influence of French cuisine on food from New Orleans.
Thyme is an excellent herb for different types of soup. It is often one of the primary seasonings in some recipes for split pea and lentil soups. Fresh thyme can be added right before the soup is removed from the heat. The dried herb is better suited to long cooking compared to the fresh herb, so you might want to start adding dried thyme earlier in the cooking time.
Thyme is great with chicken and other poultry. Along with sage, it is one of the popular ingredients for poultry seasoning. Thyme is an especially complementary herb for cooking turkey.
To make salad dressing
Dried thyme leaves make an attractive and flavorful addition to a salad dressing. In particular, you can add thyme to your vinaigrettes. Its flavor will pair well with the acidity of white wine or champagne vinegar to complement leafy greens.