In this week’s Cooking With Bwog, resident herb expert Matt Powell explains how to care for your herbs and use them in delicious dishes. At the Union Square GreenMarket, Matt picked up purple basil, lavender, lemon thyme, tarragon, and oregano. Questions about other types of herbs should be directed to our other herb expert, Snoop Dogg.
I learned a couple things since my last herb purchase. First, the farmers that open shop on Saturdays in Union Square have much better offerings than those around here. Second, only buy herbs that you use sparingly. Finally, take the time to repot your herbs so they have room to grow. For those of you worried about price, do the math. One packet of herbs at West Side costs $2–$3. One small pot from the market is a mere $4. If you keep it alive, it’ll pay off!
The Appetizer: Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini
Makes 24 little crostinis
After I splurged on herbs, I returned back to EC and began to come up with simple uses for the plants. This dish is one of my favorites when it comes to picnics.
1 (8 oz) log of goat cheese
¼ C of mixed minced herbs (I used purple basil, lavender, lemon thyme, and tarragon.)
4 red tomatoes, sliced and seeded
12 slices of prosciutto, shredded by hand
Spread the minced mixed herbs on a plate and roll the goat cheese log to coat the cheese. Place the cheese in a container and allow to infuse with flavor in the fridge overnight.
To assemble: Slice the baguette into 24 slices and toast (or broil in the oven). Spread the herbed goat cheese on the little toasts. Place 2 tomato slices on each baguette slice. Place some shredded prosciutto on top of each crostini.
The Main: Rib Eye Steak with Garlic Herb Butter
I originally used the red-veined sorrel in this dish, but I found out that fresh spring pea shoots are even tastier.
1 stick (4 oz.) butter
Mixture of herbs (I used minced purple basil, oregano, lemon thyme)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 rib eye steaks (If you can afford a better cut, go for it.)
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp. butter or rendered animal (duck, pork) fat
4 small handfuls of red-veined sorrel or pea shoots
Make the herb butter: Bring the butter to room temperature. (If you don’t have the patience, nuke the butter for 20 seconds to soften it.) Mix the butter with the minced herbs and the minced garlic. (It’s easier to mix in a large bowl, using the back of a spoon to combine the herbs with the butter.) Once you’re finished mixing, scrape the herb butter into a container and place in the fridge.
Make your steak: Bring the steak to room temperature. Rub the steaks down with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Warm an oven-proof skillet or pan in the oven at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes. Once the pan is hot, remove from the oven and place on the stove over high heat. Melt 1 tbsp. of fat in the skillet. Once the fat is melted, place the steak(s) in the pan (about 2 steaks will fit in a skillet). Sear on one side, without moving the steak(s), for 30 seconds. Once time is up, flip the steak(s) and sear the other side for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer the skillet/pan to the oven and roast the steak(s) at 450 degrees for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, flip the steak(s) and roast for an additional 2 minutes. After time is up, remove the steak(s) from the oven and place on a plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 2 minutes.
Assembly: On a plate, place the sorrel or pea shoots (or a mixture of both). Place the steak atop the greens and top with about a tablespoon of the herbed butter.