Think about Provence and what comes to your mind? Endless fields of lavender, sunflowers and olive trees? A slower pace of life, a Sunday lunch under the shade of plane trees in a village square, a café crème at a sidewalk café, or a long walk through a forest of oak and chestnut trees? Never ending summer? All of these whisper “Provence” to me!
It also makes me think of Herbes de Provence, as herbs (both fresh as well as dried) are an essential component of French and Mediterranean cooking. It is this mixture of dried herbs that adds a distinctive flavour to dishes such as chicken, vegetables, grilled fish, salads, tomato-based soups, and stews like ratatouille.
Although easily available in most supermarkets, I still prefer to make my own blend so I have an idea of what herbs are in the mix. You see, there are various recipes out there, which might include any or all of the following: basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, crushed or whole bay leaves, savory, chervil, sage, oregano, and mint. Some version also include (culinary) lavender buds, which are specifically marked for cooking. This adds aroma and some say strong soapy flavour to your mix. I’ve added it in and I’ve left it out, and don’t mind either way.
- 4 tablespoons thyme
- 3 tablespoons marjoram
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon lavender (optional)
This Herbes de Provence recipe really couldn’t be easier to put together. I hardly dirtied a spoon…pretty much all I did was put all the ingredients in a jar and gave that a little shake. You can use it as is, or if you prefer them finer, you could grind it up in a spice grinder.