I LOVE cooking with fresh thyme! The tiny herb, whose flavor is difficult to capture in words, adds a unique flavor and aroma. It is one of the most versatile herbs in American and European cooking, and you will find it pairs well with nearly any kind of meat, poultry, fish, or vegetable.

The flavor of thyme is essential in soups and stocks, sauces and any dish that list a “bouquet garni” as an ingredient. A sprig of thyme means a stem with leaves about 3 – 4 inches in length.

To use fresh thyme, peel off as many of the leaves as you can from the woody stem by running your fingers along the stem from the tip to the base. Particularly with younger thyme, some of the main stem or little offshoot stems will be pliable and come off with the leaves, which is fine. One benefit of living in the Pacific Northwest is that thyme grow well here year-round, so I can harvest it fresh most anytime! If you happen to harvest a large bunch, or or lucky enough to be gifted with one, you can store it. Thyme keeps for at least a week in the fridge, wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in a plastic bag.

Thyme is high anti-oxidants, so you’ll get a double boost when you pair it with cooked tomatoes, red, yellow or orange bell peppers, carrots, grapes, blueberries, red berries, dark green vegetables, or sweet potatoes. A great example of the double boost is tomato pie. Or how about a great spring salad with thyme vinaigrette?

thyme vinaigrette

  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup oil (or less, depending upon the acidity of the vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Place sugar, mustard, salt, onion and vinegar in blender container or bowl. Blend a few seconds until well mixed, or mix by hand. Slowly add oil, blending well with each addition, until mixture is thick. Stir in thyme leaves and pour into serving container.

For a sweeter dressing for salads with fruit, add 1/2 cup sugar to the mustard, slat  onion and vinegar in the beginning. 

fresh tomato thyme oil

Drizzle over fresh mozzarella, our use it in place of the oil in the thyme vinaigrette!

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), seeded and chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 cups olive oil

In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to 220°-250°F for 20 minutes. Let cool; strain and bottle.

brie fondue with fresh thyme

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Sauternes, or medium dry reisling
  • 1 pound brie, rind removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • dash or two of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • sea salt
  • 2 crisp, juicy apples (Fuji, Jazz, Honeycrisp), cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 cup large seedless grapes (be sure the grapes are dry)
  • sourdough baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes

Melt the butter in a medium (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot with a dash of salt, and cook until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and 1/4 cup water, and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, toss the brie with the cornstarch, thyme and black pepper to coat and then whisk into the wine until the cheese completely melts, about 2 minutes. TAKE CARE not to overheat the mixture, as it will separate. Stir in the Franks; taste and correct the seasonings if needed. Transfer to a pre-warmed fondue pot. Serve fruit and bread cubes alongside, with long forks for each guest for dipping.

Serves 8.

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