Summer Cookouts Are Better with Rosemary

Though it originates from the Mediterranean region where it enjoys a long warm growing season, rosemary can thrive under almost any conditions, making it an ideal landscape plant for both commercial and home use. In fact, this fragrant herb is one of the most commonly used plants in the home landscape, but its versatility as a culinary herb is often overlooked.

The cultivar known as ‘Tuscan Blue’ is one of the most highly esteemed varieties for culinary use, but literally every type of rosemary can be used for cooking. Some plants have a stronger scent and taste than others but the flavor difference is more often a result of the growing conditions than the individual cultivar. No doubt the flavor of rosemary is strong. It can easily overpower a dish when not used carefully, but its strong flavor profile is also what makes it so great for outdoor cooking.

Grilled chicken, beef, pork and lamb can all be enhanced with rosemary. And nothing tastes better alongside a grilled steak than potatoes that have been quartered, tossed with olive oil, lightly sprinkled with sea salt and minced rosemary then wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill. Yum!

This summer before you head into the backyard to start cooking, head into the front yard with a sharp pair of scissors and cut a few sprigs from that rosemary plant you brush against as you walk to and from the mailbox each day. Rinse the stems and blot dry with a paper towel before using. Strip the leaves from a twig of rosemary by holding it firmly at the top between the thumb and forefinger of one hand while running the thumb and forefinger of your other hand down the length of the twig. Most of the needles (leaves) should come off easily.

Rosemary Marinade

Use this marinade on any type of meat, poultry or thickly sliced vegetable (like eggplant) before grilling.

½ cup olive oil    Juice of one lemon    1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary    2 large garlic cloves, minced    1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt    ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients and place them in a locking freezer bag with approximately 1 pound of meat. Massage the marinade into the meat and cover all pieces evenly. Place in the refrigerator and let rest for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. The longer the product marinates the stronger the flavors will be. Turn the bag over every couple of hours to keep the marinade evenly distributed. Remove from the fridge approximately 30 minutes before cooking and allow the meat to come to room temperature. Discard any extra marinade and do not reuse marinade that has been exposed to raw meat or poultry.

Rosemary Basting Mop

Instead of using a brush to apply barbecue or other sauces to meat as it cooks, use a mop made from rosemary branches. Bundle 3 to 5 twigs together with cooking twine and use the flexible tops of the twig bundle as a mop to wash grilling meats with sauce. Whole rosemary leaves can taste unpleasant when burnt (as can happen with grilling). Cover the end of your rosemary mop with cheesecloth to prevent loose needles from sticking to your food or simply remove any unwanted needles after basting.

Rosemary Smoke

Adding a few woodchips to the grill is a great way to impart some extra flavor to whatever you’re cooking. You can use the same method with a couple of small rosemary branches that have been stripped of their leaves and soaked in water for several minutes. The wet branches will burn slowly and produce plenty of fragrant smoke that will add a delicate hint of rosemary flavor to your meal.

Rosemary and Vegetables

Meat and poultry aren’t the only products that pair well with the piney flavor of rosemary. Use a small amount of minced rosemary to season eggplant, zucchini or tomatoes before grilling or sprinkle a few rosemary flowers into a green salad to serve alongside your grilled meats. The vegetables can be prepared in the best pressure cooker 2020 as the taste will be delicious for friends and families.

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