Fresh herbs bring a lot to the table. They are generally available all year long, and can add a complexity and freshness to a dish that dried herbs just can’t do. However, they aren’t always the easiest to use. Their size and shape can make them time consuming to prep. With a little practice though, you can make the process super simple.
In this demo, I’m working with fresh oregano. Of course when we think oregano, we all think spaghetti and pizza, but its uses go well beyond. Oregano is a staple in a lot of Mediterranean food and can be used in marinades or directly in the finished product.
To prepare the oregano, follow these three easy steps:
- First, remove the leaves from the stem, which is not all that tasty, and I just throw away. To remove the leaves, hold the top of the stem in one hand, and then starting near the top of the stem use your other hand to strip back the leaves moving down the stem. The move is kind of like petting a cat or dog “against the grain” (the way the hair lies). By going against the grain, the leaves should slide off with just a little pressure.
- Once you have the leaves off, you want to bunch them together as tightly as you can. I think of this move like rolling a cigar. You want to get the leaves tightly packed together, so that with one move of the knife, you’re cutting through several of the leaves as once.
- Now that the leaves are packed together, hold them with one hand, and then use the knife to cut through the leaves, working from one side of the “cigar” to the other. Keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board and just rotate the angle so you get through all of herbs. If you need a finer chop, just repeat the same process, and you’re good to go.