What is Herbes de Provence?
Herbes de Provence, or Provençal herbs, is a traditional blend of aromatic herbs that flourish in hills of southern France during the hot summer months. Used by the handful when fresh, Herbes de Provence is also good using dried herbs. Bay leaf, thyme, fennel, rosemary, chervil, oregano, summer savory, tarragon, mint, and marjoram are some of the herbs typically used.
Orange zest is sometimes included as is lavender, though the lavender is less traditional and was added more for the benefit of tourists who saw lavender fields as almost emblematic of the Provençe region. Traditional or not, the addition of lavender is an nice addition to the blend.
Herbes de Provence is a good addition to any dish from the Mediterranean region and is especially good mixed with olive oil to coat chicken, fish, tomatoes or chunks of potato for roasting, adding to a pizza sauce or sprinkled over game or kabobs before roasting. It’s also used for seasoning salads, sauces and cheeses, as well as soups and stews. Try rubbing the blend on whole turkey or the breast before roasting.
Rub beef, lamb or veal with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then press the herb blend into the meat. Sear the meat in a very hot skillet on both sides, then remove and finish roasting in a 300 degree oven until cooked to your preference. When grilling add a pinch or two of herbes de Provence to the coals when they are hot. Herbes de Provence is often sold in traditional terracotta jars which make both a charming gift and effective storage container.
Substitute for Herbs de Provence
For 2 tbsp herbs de Provence substitute as much of the following herbs as you have available:
- 4 tsp each dried thyme and marjoram
- 1 1/2 tsp summer savory
- 1/4 tsp dried rosemary and mint
- 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
- Pinch each of dried sage and lavender flowers