Thursday, 25 November 2010
Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) #261: bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)
The duck had been roasted in a shallow casserole dish. After it had been in the oven for about an hour, it was liberally sprinkled with dried thyme and a couple of recently dried bay leaves and some whole garlic cloves were placed in the copious amounts of duck fat that had gathered in the bottom of the casserole.
When the garlic and bay leaves were crispy and golden, they were removed and set aside and the duck continued to roast.
We drained off most of the fat and deglazed the dish with the tiniest bit of red wine to make a reduction to place on each plate along with oven roasted potatoes and mushrooms (in duck fat, of course) and steamed green beans garnished with sauteed red & yellow peppers.
To make the plate look prettier, we scattered the bay leaves and garlic cloves on top of the duck and added a sprig of parsley. The candles were lit and with the intoxicating aromas, we sat down to dine.
It. Was. Ambrosial.
At first, there was just the soft sound of lightly clinking forks and knives. And sighs of satisfaction. And smiles and nods that this was even better than we imagined. And then:
he: [looking slightly alarmed] What are you doing??
me: Tasting the bay leaf…
he: What? They’re not meant to be eaten.
me: Why not? [nibbling an edge] ooooo this is fabulous. Do you have a bay leaf too? You’ve got to try one.
he: [nibbling] You’re right!! This is great. It’s better than deep-fried sage or rosemary leaves! Next time we’ll use two bay leaves. No. Three, maybe four….
The wine, Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel 1990 was superb, still a little fruity with even a small amount of tannin left and the most wonderful herbal notes (was it mint??) In fact, it was so rich and full that between the two of us, we only drank half the bottle!!
WHAT a feast we had!! Even without the bay leaves, it would have been spectacular. But WITH the bay leaves, we were raised a few steps higher.
Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) #261
Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Because our winters are to severe, our bay tree is housed in a pot that I drag outside every spring so the tree can enjoy the great outdoors for the summer. It always gives me pause sometime in October to have to haul it back inside for the winter. Winter?? Already??? Noooooooooooo!
And now that the tree is well established, it has a tendency to grow every summer. A lot. Each year, I have to chop a substantial part of the top branch away so that the tree will fit under the lights in the basement. I hang the branch on the door in the kitchen and we use freshly dried bay leaves over the course of the winter.
Freshly dried bay leaves are SO much better than the sorry specimens sold in little glass jars at the supermarket.
Please read more about bay laurel:
- Some previous WHB posts about bay laurel:
* cauliflower au gratin (WHB#163)
* Rogan Josh: the ultimate comfort food (WHB#124)
* fresh bay leaves (WHB#51)
* Bay (Laurus nobilis) to make Old Bay Seasoning (WHB#23)
- growing bay laurel
- WHB#23: bay laurel (12 March 2006)
- wikipedia – bay laurel
- Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages – laurel
- Cook’s Thesaurus – bay
- The Epicentre – bay leaf
- Plants for a Future – Laurus nobilis
- American Cancer Society – antioxidants
This week’s WHB host is Anh (Food Lover’s Journey). The deadline for entering WHB#261 is Sunday 29 November 2010 at 15:00, Utah time (GMT-7). For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:
edit 1 December 2010: Anh has posted the delicious looking WHB261 roundup.