Mint, sage, and fennel

Had a dinner party last night in which the herbs from my garden played a central role, both in the salad course and the multiple pasta dishes that followed. Dishes included sage pesto, flat leaf parsley salad, and two kinds of zucchini carpaccio.

I’m taking off tomorrow for the summer as the heat and humidity have settled in for good here in Houston. It won’t do my herbs any favors, but I’ll be in New Mexico which has the perfect dry climate for things I can’t grow here like lavender. Here’s a couple of last night’s recipes:

Parsley salad

Strip leaves of flat leaf (also know as Italian) parsley off stems. Mix well the leaves with a dressing of: one minced clove of garlic, one minced shallot, one and a half tablespoons of lemon juice, three tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of coarse-grained mustard, and a dab of anchovy paste (optional).  Add chopped kalamata olives and capers if desired. This salad is aggressively flavored, so a little goes a long ways. It can also be used as a condiment with crusty bread or roast chicken.

Andy helping me clean up after the party

Zucchini carpaccio two ways.

Slice one zucchini into paper thin rounds. Using a vegetable peeler, cut another into thin ribbons. Drain on paper towels and then arrange rounds on one plate, ribbons on another. Mix a dressing of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Just before serving, salt zucchini and drizzle the dressing over it. Then dollop the rounds with teaspoons of fresh ricotta cheese, and freshly minced mint. Top the ribbons with shaved parmesan and either chopped chives or torn fresh basil. Serve immediately.

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