With leaves resembling tiny pine needles and a piney fragrance to match, rosemary, harvested from the evergreen Rosmarinus officinalis, is a highly prized culinary herb. It is a hardy plant that grows well in harsh, mountainous locales. The quality of the herb is determined by its deep green color, fragrant volatile oil and lemony, piney flavor. Dried rosemary is available in whole, ground and cut leaves forms.
Rosemary is one of only a few herbs can gracefully cross the line between savory and sweet. Known for its fresh, bittersweet fragrance, it is found in bouquet garni, herbes de Provence and many Mediterranean seasoning blends. Marinated lamb chops are just one example of its excellence with roasted meat. The surprise is that rosemary is also a delectable addition to lemon pound cake, macaroons and other sweets.
Originally from the Mediterranean, rosemary finds a home in kitchen gardens the world over. Commercial producers include Spain, Morocco, Albania and Turkey.
BELIEVE IT…OR NOT
Want to strengthen your memory for the big exam? The ancient Greeks would have you wear a braid of rosemary leaves during the test. The name in Latin means “dew of the sea,” because the herb thrives where fog and salt spray meet. American colonists used the herb to scent soap, but it is also known as the herb of remembrance and placed on the graves of fallen English heroes.
Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Garden Ratatouille with Crispy Rosemary Polenta