Monday, May 20, 2013

That's for Remembrance

Spices aren’t really my thing. I’m not a wunderkind in the kitchen any way you look at it, and I’m definitely not too adventuresome when it comes to things like curry, allspice, cumin, paprika, white pepper, or cardamom. But set me loose with some previously leafy, plant-based add-ins and I’m a madwoman. Basil, chives, oregano, tarragon, mint … I’m so going to Scarborough fair, y’all!

My favorite feeling-fancy frou-frou for food is rosemary. Rosemary is all-powerful. Sweet, savory, woody, delicate … and a major player in three of my go-to recipes. Full disclosure: I didn’t invent any of these recipes on my own. And one of them I can’t really call a “recipe” because I’ve never attempted to concoct it on my own—I’ve just ordered it more than once. But they’ll make your mouth water all the same and I’m going to keep this short so I can go make or order one of the three very soon.

  • Garlic-rosemary shrimp: this is, hands down, the most fantastic, sophisticated, showstopper of a dinner I’ve ever made (which I acknowledge isn’t saying much). Tasty shrimpies are covered in a light, heavenly bread crumb/garlic powder/pepper/fresh-chopped rosemary powder and oven-baked ‘til they’re juicy and crunchy and the color of fresh wheat. Serve those bad boys layered over creamy cannellini beans with pressed garlic and a splash of chicken broth  that sit steaming on a bed of fresh baby spinach and people (well, people I know) will think you know your way around a Cuisinart.
  • Rosemary and pine nut sugar cookies: a plain ol’ sugar cookie is hard to beat, especially when it’s nice and crisp, but this is my favorite gourmet version of the classic. When you roast pine nuts yourself you feel wise and capable despite the time it took, so I recommend it whenever feasible. And adding something that is usually put in lamb or turkey dishes to your dessert is thrilling—it seems so avant-garde and naughty! A perfectly cream-colored sugar cookie studded with brown and green flecks, dunked in milk until that exquisite moment right before the sodden bit breaks off and floats to the bottom of the glass is a true crowd-pleaser. So is the rich, buttery taste of sugar mixing with bracing rosemary.
  • Black Diamond: I’m not going to try to describe this to you. Someone else does a much better job. Let me just say that I promise to take you out for one and also promise not to grab the sprig right out of your glass and gnaw on it. Unless you leave it unattended.
I’m certainly not trying to poo-poo other plants, especially not cilantro (which I often claim I would eat on anything, even cereal), but rosemary is the queen of all herbs. Her name means “dew of the sea” and her flowers are often purple, for crying out loud: my love for this culinary diva was preordained.

Without which herb/spice/seasoning would your Top Chef dreams wither? What sundry gets you as jazzed as Julia Child?


G Love said...

Sadly, my husband hates rosemary. he says it's like eating a pine tree.

MSO Rin said...

That's how I feel about drinking gin! ;)