Chef tip on cooking with herbs

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‘Chefs use fresh and dried herbs to enhance both the appearance and flavour of dishes’, says chef and culinary lecturer TJ O’Connor. ‘Here’s how to replace fresh herbs with dried herbs, why you should add hard herbs like rosemary at the start of cooking and when to add soft herbs like basil to a dish.’

– When using fresh herbs in place of dried apply a ratio of 3:1 – for example, when a recipe calls for 5 grams of dried rosemary use 15 grams of the fresh herb.

– When you are using hard herbs like rosemary, thyme or bay leaves they should be added at the start of the cooking process as they take longer to release their flavour.

– When I use softer herbs such as basil and coriander I prefer to tear rather than chop them as chopping tends to bruise the herb.

– When using softer herbs in a dish they may have two uses: to enhance the flavour and to add colour. To achieve the best result I add some during the cooking process to infuse flavour and add the rest just before serving the food to give it a vibrant colour, for example tarragon in Chicken Chasseur or basil in Ratatouille.


TJ O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer with the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Department at IT Tralee, County Kerry. He trains chefs to work in some of the finest hotels in Ireland.


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