Does summer have a flavor? Well, no, but there are tastes of summer, and to me, fresh herbs are among the brightest and most appealing. Of course fresh herbs are available year-round, but it’s in the summer months when they taste the best.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
Fresh herbs provide potent flavor and aroma without much heft or bulk. They are especially flavorful when you buzz (or chop) them into a paste with other tasty ingredients, such as garlic and olive oil. You can riff on that formula, but here are four core herb sauces you should have in your repertoire.
This sauce hails from North Africa and is often used to dress or marinate fish; it’s also great on simple grilled meats and vegetables.
CORE INGREDIENTS: Cilantro, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne are common)
What makes it unique: Warm spices
If you’re eating grilled beef in Argentina, you’re eating it with chimichurri, a zesty condiment that’s ubiquitous in that country.
CORE INGREDIENTS: Parsley (and sometimes cilantro), garlic, oregano, olive oil, and vinegar
What makes it unique: Oregano
Pesto (alla Genovese)
Dress pasta, top soup, smear on sandwiches or crostini, dollop on pizza—uses for this popular concoction are many.
CORE INGREDIENTS: Basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil
What makes it unique: Fragrant basil, pine nuts; no acid
Not to be confused with the Mexican tomatillo-based salsa of the same name, Italian salsa verde features the heady umami flavor of anchovies; it’s typically used to sauce roasted meats.
CORE INGREDIENTS: Parsley, anchovies, capers, garlic, bread (sometimes), lemon juice, and olive oil
What makes it unique: Anchovies, capers
All these sauces are great as condiments to grilled meats and fish, spooned over vegetables, stirred into potato salad, or served as dips. Once you have one (or more!) of them around, you’ll find countless other ways to enjoy them.