Herb: A Cook's Companion by Mark Diacono
A beautiful book, and one which makes me want to cultivate my garden just as much as scurry to the kitchen. - Nigella Lawson
At its core this book is about cooking, but it's an essential and valuable resource for folk who love to grow their own herbs and cook. Sorted by individual herbs with detailed notes on how to grow and use them, it's going to be a book I will turn to a lot over the years. - Nik Sharma
Herb is a plot-to-plate exploration of herbs that majors on the kitchen, with just enough of the simple art of growing to allow the reader to welcome a wealth of home-grown flavours into their kitchen.
Author Mark Diacono is a gardener as well as a cook. Packed with ideas for enjoying and using herbs, Herb is much more than your average recipe book. Mark shares the techniques at the heart of sourcing, preparing and using herbs well, enabling you to make delicious food that is as rewarding in the process as it is in the end result. The book explores how to use herbs, when to deploy them, and how to capture those flavours to use when they might not be seasonally available. The reader will become familiar with the differences in flavour intensity, provenance, nutritional benefits and more.
Focusing on the familiars including thyme, rosemary, basil, chives and bay, Herb also opens the door to a few lesser-known flavours. The recipes build on bringing your herbs alive - whether that's a quickly swizzed parsley pesto when short of time on a weekday evening, or in wrapping a crumbly Lancashire cheese in lovage for a few weeks to infuse it with bitter earthiness.
With a guide to sowing, planting, feeding and propagating herbs, there are also full plant descriptions and their main culinary affinities. Mark then looks at various ways to preserve herbs including making oils, drying, vinegars, syrups and freezing, before offering over 100 innovative recipes that make the most of your new herb knowledge.