Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Herb Blogging: Mint

Mint is quite easy to grow if you buy small plants at the beginning of the season and set them in a pot. It will run wild like a weed if not contained so be careful if planting it in a garden. Mint is pretty and fragrant and so tasty. I have a pot with sweet mint and orange mint. The sweet mint has that classic fresh, minty sweet taste, the orange mint has a sharp, citrus bite to it.

Left~orange mint, Right~sweet mint

There are many applications for mint, it goes well in salad, soup and pairs beautifully with carrots, new potatoes and fresh, garden peas. You can make mint sauce to gild tender roast lamb or make a cool mint and yogurt sauce (raita) to pair with spicy Indian cuisine. Fresh mint was front and center on the garnish platter for last night's Pho Ga. You can brew it up as a tea as an excellent digestive or brew it with black tea for a refreshing iced summer bevvie. Mint also makes wonderful cocktails! I'm no mixologist but I made a gorgeous mint cocktail for the holiday weekend, if I do say so myself.

The cocktail I made is a variation of the Gin Gin Mule, I made a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice, brought it to a boil added a big bundle of mint that I crumpled to bruise the leaves. I removed it from the heat and let the mint steep for 15 minutes. I strained it into a mason jar which will keep in the fridge for a goodly while, if it lasts that long. For the cocktail, which I dubbed Gin Mint Fizz, I muddled mint leaves, thinly sliced ginger root and freshly squeezed lime juice in the bottom of a tall glass. I then filled the glass with ice and added 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of mint syrup, topped it all off with a hefty splash of spicy ginger beer and gave it a gentle stir as not to disturb the lovely fizz. Rob, who is a tried and true G&T man, enjoyed it as much as I did.

Friday's dinner highlighted mint. I purchased some fresh English peas at the farmer's market on Tuesday morning. So sweet and tender, these peas needed no cooking whatsoever. I shelled the peas and made a salad with lots of fresh mint leaves and snipped chives with just a drizzle of Sicilian olive oil and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. Grilled herb marinated chicken breast and fresh sweet corn served as companions to this beautiful spring salad. It was delicious! I'm not a fan of frozen peas and had no idea that peas could have such a fresh taste and texture and it was a perfect match for the mint.

1 comment:

  1. Those peas look awesome. I absolutely love mint, weirdly it's one of those herbs I never use but now I'm all inspired to try it today :)