There’s nothing like a fragrant herb to spice up your cooking, but the options go well beyond oregano, rosemary, and basil. Instead of playing favorites, find a new one from these amazing underused aromatics. Keep your eyes open at the farmer’s market or try your hand at growing them at home and soon enough the names and tastes will be on the tip of your tongue!
Savory (winter and summer): These herbs add the je ne sais quoi to Herbes de Provence, but they’re delicious on their own in bean stews and hearty soups. Choose winter savory for a heavier, piney taste with cheese dishes and summer savory for a more subtle peppery pique in creamy soups.
Lemon balm and lemon verbena: All the zest with none of the acid. Keep these two herbs in your cupboard as a quick sub for lemon in almost any recipe, from beverages hot and cold to salads and soups.
Chervil: This delicate parsley relative is one of the fines herbes—perfect for topping mild-flavored soups and vegetables when you want a hint of licorice.
Sorrel: An herb with a strong, fruity flavor that holds its own pureed in soups or mixed and mashed with potatoes. Learn how to choose, store, and cook with sorrel to make the best of this versatile herb.
Lovage: Add a little essence of celery to your next broth with these lovely leaves. You can also use the roots grated in salads or the seeds as a spice.
Borage: Two words—herbal cucumber. Young borage will give your salad or sandwich a cool crunch. Blanched and blended, it will refresh even the spiciest of soups. And don’t forget the pretty blue flower for garnish!
Salad burnet: Another cucumbery herb, but with a bit more bite. It works wonderfully as a final addition to soups and eggs or as a tasty garnish in a cold drink on a hot day.
Cicely: A lesser-known member of the fines herbes family that brings the aroma of anise to the mix. It pairs perfectly with tart fruits like in this luscious rhubarb crumble.