Herbs are one of my all-time gardening favorites because most of them continue to grow and produce all season long. I’ve taken to growing more than I can use because I love their appearance; I even grow some herbs only for their blooms. Lavender, creeping thyme, basil and sage often find their ways into my cut flower arrangements.
Few dishes make it to my table without a sprig of one or another herb on top. Certainly, they have aesthetic appeal, but the core reason I grow herbs at home is for their fresh flavor—thyme for chicken, mint for lamb, dill for salmon and egg salad, and basil on everything!
My favorite herb has always been rosemary. I use it in grain dishes, in chicken and lamb recipes, and with a surprising number of sweet foods, too. (Finely-chopped rosemary is an unexpected but tasty addition to a shortbread cookie.) It’s especially beautiful and delicious with roasted grapes, which I love to serve on a flatbread with prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese and honey, or spoon over grilled salmon. I also make a Panna Cotta with Rosemary-Grape Compote that’s a dinner party winner every time.
Perhaps my favorite way to use rosemary is in a rosemary pesto. Made similarly to traditional basil pesto, you can serve it with feta cheese on crackers, on a lamb chop or burger and even with angel hair pasta and seared scallops.
Panna Cotta with Rosemary-Grape Compote
- ½ lb. red seedless grapes, halved
- ¼ cup Kowalski’s pure honey, divided
- 4 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 stem rosemary, plus more for garnish
- 1 ½ cups fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp. vanilla paste or vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 ¼ tsp. gelatin
In a medium saucepan, stir together grapes, 2 Tbsp. honey, lemon juice and 1 stem of rosemary. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the syrup just coats the back of a metal spoon (two or three minutes). Move to a dish; chill completely in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, buttermilk, vanilla and remaining honey; set aside. In a small dish, microwave water for 45 seconds. Stir in gelatin until completely melted, and whisk thoroughly into yogurt mixture. Divide mixture into four (4 oz.) ramekins, sprayed lightly with cooking spray; refrigerate until firm (about three hours). To unmold, dip the bottom of the ramekins (up to the rim but not over the panna cotta) in very hot water for a few seconds; invert onto serving plates. Remove rosemary stem from syrup. Top each serving with grapes and syrup; garnish with fresh rosemary.
Makes ~1 cup
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- ¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
- ¼ cup freshly grated Kowalski’s Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup pine nuts or almonds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
- ¼ cup (approx.) Kowalski’s extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste
In a food processor, process green onions, rosemary, parsley, cheese, nuts, garlic and zest until a smooth, thick paste forms. With the processor running, slowly stream in oil until a loose paste forms. Add lemon juice and season to taste; pulse until combined.
Rachael Perron, the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, specializes in product development/selection, culinary education and communications. Find more at Kowalskis.com.