When it comes to cooking with herbs, one of summer’s latest crops, basil, gets the most attention. A bunch of fresh basil does add fragrance and flavor to a variety of dishes, and homemade basil pesto is one of the season’s best tastes. But don’t wait until July and August to start cooking with fresh herbs. As soon as your garden starts to green, and the farmers’ markets reopen for the season, you can find tender sprigs of fresh dill, mint, tarragon, thyme and rosemary in abundance, ready to freshen any recipe that calls for the dried version (just use half as much). The following recipes highlight the taste of summer’s first herbs in salads, beverages and baked goods.
Shrimp, Cucumber and Fresh Mint Salad
Hot Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Almonds
Walnut-Cheddar-Thyme Mini Muffins
Green Bean Salad with Fresh Dill
Kendi O’Neill is a freelance food writer based in Frederick. She is the author of two cookbooks, “In the Kitchen with Kendi,” Volumes I and II.