Herbs on the Chopping Block

Fresh herbs are an easy, aromatic way to add flavor to your meals without adding fat and calories. The amount of chopping required depends on the dish you are cooking. Some dishes require flavor without diminishing the overall appearance of the dish, such as when cooking fish, chicken or meat, so finely chopped herbs work best. For the best flavor and aroma, fresh herbs are best added toward the end of the cooking process for just enough time to infuse flavor but not so long that they are overcooked or take over the dish. You can always use a whole leaf or sprig of the herb as a garnish on the plate. Keep in mind that the amount used fresh is different. Salads and salsas, however, benefit from larger leaves chopped just enough to release their flavor but leave them easily identifiable and very much a part of the appearance as well as the flavor and aroma of the dish. Be sure to rinse your herbs in cool water and pat dry thoroughly before chopping to maintain crisp leaves and avoid creating a paste.