Most weeks, my CSA includes a bunch of herbs, like dill, parsley, or fennel. I like fresh herbs, of course, but I use parsley only sparingly and certainly not before the majority of the giant bunch begins to decay. So, in an effort to get the most out of my CSA produce before it goes bad, I’ve been learning to make sauces and syrups.
One herb sauce I like to keep on hand is a version of mojo verde, a green sauce that is similar to chimichurri but has a mix of parsley and cilantro. It’s great on eggs or sandwiches, or even as a dip for tortilla chips. (I added mine to collard green tacos – recipe coming next week!) I usually mix up mojo verde without much precision, but here’s a general formula:
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 bunch parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Olive oil to taste
Using your food processor, chop the garlic, then add the cilantro and parsley. Pulse until pureed; add the cumin, lemon juice, salt, pulse until mixed. Add olive oil (I used about 1/4 cup) and pulse until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
If you prefer to sweet to savory, I’ve also tried my hand at making syrups — rhubarb and fennel, so far. These also follow a simple formula: 3:2:1 plant materials:sugar:water.
Last night, feeling guilty about throwing out all the fennel fronds after using the bulb, I tossed 2 cups of chopped fennel greens with 1 cup of sugar. This morning, I added 1/2 cup water to the fennel sugar mixture and boiled until it reached a syrup-like consistency. Strain out the solids and allow the syrup to cool before using.
Let’s be clear: if you don’t like the taste of fennel, this won’t change your mind. For the rest of us, though, it’s a nice addition to seltzer for a non-alcoholic Pastis, perfect for a hot summer day.
And finally, although the season has almost passed, an ode to rhubarb. Any trip I take to Iowa in the spring results in a carry-on full of this strange vegetable on my return trip, because I love rhubarb. I love it in quick bread and in pie. I love it in chutney…and I love it in drinks. Enter: rhubarb syrup. I used the same formula as above to make a rhubarb syrup, which is delightfully pink! The rhubarb solids are great over yogurt or ice cream, and the syrup’s sweet and sour notes make it a great cocktail mixer. One of my genius friends came up with this rhubarb spritzer recipe:
1 oz gin
1 oz rhubarb syrup
A splash of lime juice
Seltzer to taste
(For a tamer version, the gin can be omitted.)
So, help me out. How do you use up extra herbs? More importantly, what can I do with a bunch of dill?
Amy Saltzman is an avid gardener and cook in DC. She is a member of the Lancaster County Farm Fresh and North Mountain Pastures CSAs.