As summer approaches, the barbeque will have its moment – and a decent side salad will become a coveted thing. One of the easiest ways to boost a bowl of salad leaves is to add a few rare and interesting ones. Herbs can very much help you out with that.

In honour of his latest recipe collection, Herb: A Cook’s Companion, food writer and gardener Mark Diacono has given us the lowdown on three (ok, four) of his favourite herbs you will struggle to find in the supermarket, but are delicious to grow and eat at home…


Best fresh herbs for your salad

1. Korean mint (paired with anise hyssop)

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Diacono pairs Korean mint with anise hyssop, “because they are close but there are differences and they sit in between a soft aniseed and mint”.

“They just sit in that perfect place where there’s a whole lot of sweetness, but with a bit of zing,” he continues. “And both of them are absolutely amazing. You won’t find them in the shops, usually you have to buy seed and grow it yourself, which is very simple. There’s never not a good time for those. They’re great in salads, with seafood, great in cocktails.”

2. Salad burnet

Potted salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) with a wooden plant marker and a planting shovel on a rustic wooden table in the garden, copy space, selected focus

“I’m excited because I planted some salad burnet last year and it’s kind of up and alive and growing marvellously again. And that’s really important to me. Not many people grow it – again you can’t buy it as a thing to use. You have to grow it yourself,” explains Diacono. “It’s a perennial that’s just absolutely wonderful and has leaves that have the flavour of cucumber.”

3. Shiso

Purple Shiso Isolated on White Background

“[Shiso] is a really beautiful herb that you can get in either purple or lime green coloured leaves,” says Diacono of the Japanese herb. “The flavour sits somewhere between mint and cumin. So you get that earthiness and the warmth of cumin, but the zing of mint, and it’s just incredible.”

Herb: A Cook’s Companion by Mark Diacono is published by Quadrille. Photography Mark Diacono. 

Herb: A Cook's Companion
50 Reviews
Herb: A Cook's Companion
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Diacono, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update on 2021-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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