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Fresh Oregano Suggestions?

My oregano plants are HUGE this year, one in particular. Anyone got some great recipes that call for fresh oregano? I'll pick a good bit of it and dry it for the winter, but would like to use some fresh!

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  1. You can use fresh oregano in any recipe that calls for dried. Just use 2 or 3 times more of it, chopped.
    Drying intensifies the flavor of most herbs.

      1. re: valerie

        I got some oregano planted this year that is a lemon flavored oregano. It's really pretty too -- kind of variegated green and bright yellow. I think it would be great in your recipe and will put that on our list to try.

        1. re: karykat

          I must admit that I have only used dried oregano, but this recipe comes out perfect every time. I am always trying new marinades for grilled chicken and I go back to this one every time. The only other thing I do differently is that I use boneless chicken breasts rather than bone-in pieces. I just find them easier to cook on the grill. I use fairly thick pieces, so they stay moist, and they really do stay moist.

      2. We make a marinade for BBQ chicken that's just beer, chopped garlic, and oregano. Marinate whole pieces of chicken in the marinade overnight, then drain, pat dry and wipe clean, and grill. Add your favorite homemade BBQ sauce once chicken is almost done. Yum!

        1. perhaps some greek foods lie ahead in your summer. the other day i made grilled shrimp painted up with olive oil and a good bit of chopped fresh oregano--finished with fresh lemon.

          1. I go to a Portugese restaurant from time to time. The chef/owner a Portugese daughter, cooks with fresh oregano quite often. One of her dishes that I love is her simple zuchinni with oregano. It has more oregano than I would ever dare to put in a dish, and yet hers works.Delicious!

            5 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              I haven't had much luck with oregano, every time I made a dish with it I've ended up throwing it out. I believe there is different kind of oregano but I don't know which one is good. I see some chef on TV add some to their pizza but I don't know the best oregano. Anyone could help me?

              1. re: TDEL

                It's really hard to tell which oregano that you buy in a market will suit your taste. Most markets sell Greek oregano which seems to have the strongest flavor. However, in certain seasons Italian or Mexican oregano, both of which have milder flavors are also sold, with no special markings to tell you which is which. What you really want is pungent, true Greek oregano. If what you bought seems strong to you use it in dishes with strong flavors...or use less of it than is called for in the recipe.

                1. re: TDEL

                  I can sure understand, I used to feel the same way. I would use oregano very sparingly, until I ate this particular zuchinnin dish. I would of NEVER put that much oregano in, and yet this dish was just delicious. My husband, begs me to make the dish and use the same amount of oregano. I do and now we love oregano. I use fresh mostly, and dry for sauces. I would suggest growing a plant, and then you can see how well you like it fresh. It's about the easiest thing besides rosemary to grow, and you'll save yourself about a $1.50. I can't believe I was spending so much money on herbs, and then wasting them.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Can you describe how the zucchini w/ oregano dish you love is prepared?

                    1. re: NYchowcook

                      I'll try I 've never written it down, but I don't think it's necessary to be exact for this.

                      I usually cook about 5 -6 med zucchini, cut on a diagonal at 1 inch cuts.
                      3 T butter, add 3 T fresh chopped oregano, and saute 1 clove smashed garlic, and 1/3 white onion cut into slivers. Add about 1/2 cup dry white wine and let that cook about 3 minutes on med, add at that point, a little water, probably 1/3 cup and add the zucchini, and let it cook until soft (I cover it).
                      Or let it cook until you have it the way you like it. When I make it it is almost stewed, but not quite. My husband prefers it this way, so that' how I cook it, and the length of time mellows the oregano out. Salt and pepper as usual, and red pepper flakes to your taste. Serve with freshly minced Italian parsley. Creates a wonderful liqour in the pot.

                      Just an fyi, I sometimes add fresh tomatoes, or sautee a red bell pepper, just to make it different or use what I have on hand. And I've made it with carrotsnly I add about 1 tsp of sugar to the carrots.

              2. thanks for your replies so far! Definately given me some things to think about. :)

                1. whenever I have huge quantities of herbs to use up, I chop them and add to salads. For oregano, you could go with some greek salad-ish type ingredients like cucumber, tomato, feta, olives, etc. I love almost all herbs and honestly haven't ever ended up with an inedible combination using this approach.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tcamp

                    I like this idea too. We sometimes mix and match things in salads too.

                    And bite bite's post reminds me of another idea -- chopping up herbs, and mixing with softened butter. You can freeze these compound butters at the end of the season. Early to be thinking about that now, but it's a good way to preserve your end-of-the-season herbs when frost is bearing down.

                  2. I LOVE fresh oregano. Few favorite ways to eat

                    Chopped with red pepper flakes sprinkled over brined feta then drizzled with olive oil.

                    Finely chopped with whatever other herbs I have around sprinkled over halved baby tomatoes with salt pepper and generous splash of olive oil and broiled 'til slightly charred (40 minutes or so). Any extras I save in a jar and add olive oil to cover -- can put on cheese sandwich or eat with hummus, etc.

                    In spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce (marinara, puttanesca, whathaveyou) are two other obvious ones.

                    Also sometimes add to grilled cheese or guacamole.

                    Can also make an oregano peto or pistou

                    1. You already got lots of suggestions that were for Greek-style foods...salads, chicken, etc. one of our favorites is grilled Greek chicken: marinate chicken in a mix of yogurt, lemon, oregano, cucmber, etc. marinating the chicken in yogurt is great and you can serve it with extra sauce on the side.

                      1. I just used some yesterday to make a marinade for grilled lamb chops -- chopped oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, powdered coriander, mushed up juniper berries, S&P, ground up in olive oil in mini-food processor.

                        Also can use to marinate zucchini slices w/ olive oil before grilling.
                        It's fine to use with fish too.

                        1. I'm intrigued by this recipe for oregano ice cream:


                          1. The current Good Housekeeping magazine has a great recipe that uses fresh oregano. They call it "Greek Style Tilapia".

                            I've made it three times in the last two weeks, twice with orange roughy fillets, and once with halibut steaks. It is delicious! Seriously.

                            Oh, and the recipe is available online too!


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tzurriz

                              thanks, that recipe looks great. Tonight I had some asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces that I sauteed in a little olive oil with garlic, onion and fresh oregano. Very tasty! We will be having that again soon! I was going to make that with zuchinni, but was out when I opened the fridge.

                              1. re: tzurriz

                                I made a variation on this last night with bone-in chicken. it was terrific!

                              2. When you dry it, leave it on the branch and save the dried branches (tie up bunches of them as gifts too). To use the dried leaves, rub a branch between your hands over the food. Or use the branch as a brush to apply olive oil to foods on the grill. I learned this from various Calabrians.

                                1. Make Oregano pesto

                                  2 1/2 cups torn spinach
                                  2 cups fresh oregano leaves
                                  1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
                                  2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
                                  2 tablespoons pistachios
                                  4 teaspoons lemon juice
                                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                                  2 large cloves garlic
                                  3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

                                  Process all ingredients except olive oil in food processor until smooth. With processor on, slowly pour olive oil through food chute; process until well blended. Spoon into a zip-type bag, and store in the refrigerator.

                                  Makes 1 cup.

                                  1. Fresh oregano works great as a herb crust for grilled steak or lamb, rinsed and chopped and mixed with a little olive oil and other fresh herbs to taste/availability, patted for a thick cover onto the meat, then grilled on a hot fire...meat says very moist, and the crust adds a subtle but not overwhelming taste...and it uses LOTS of leaves.

                                    1. One of my favorite ways with fresh oregano is baked Feta. Sprinkle a block of feta with 3 cloves crushed garlic and 3 T fresh oregano leaves. Drizzle with 1/4 c olive oil and top with 2 fresh summer tomatoes, sliced and sprinkled with sea salt and cracked pepper. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until bubbly. serve with crusty bread like pugliese and a glass of wine.

                                      1. zul ("who ya gonna call? ghostbusters!"),

                                        that baked feta dish sounds terrific. i really like the feta from a local dairy serving the mid-atlantic area, ("blue ridge dairy company" http://www.brdairy.com/ and they also have terrific butter and smoked mozzarella!).

                                        oregano with italian sausages

                                        i had this at a greek friend's house at a large brunch for a book event our club was hosting. i thought it was the best sausage i've ever tasted (and i've had good farm-made sausages, too), and that it was some greek specialty sausage. nope, she told me, it was just the local grocery store's house brand italian sausage ("giant").

                                        here's how to make it:
                                        slice sweet italian links in 1" rounds. put a wee bit of olive oil in a covered skillet with the sausage, and throw in lots of oregano. slowly brown the sausages, then as they get good and brown, partially cover and put on medium low to slowly finish cooking. it keeps well on the stove, and in fact, my friend just allowed guests to serve themselves from the stove. (i wish i'd eaten more, but she also makes terrific greek stuffed vine leaves ;-).

                                        yes, that's it! but you won't believe how terrific it tastes!

                                        mediterranean fish with oregano and spices (inspired by a fish brochette from lebanese taverna).

                                        last night i made a great dish that was so easy. i used trader joe's frozen swordfish -- the package is about a pound? i had thawed it in the fridge the day before.

                                        cube the fish into approx. 1" pieces, then marinate in a large zip-lock bag with (these are all approximations from what i recall):

                                        1/2 C or a little more of fruity, olive-y olive oil (i used my "napa valley traders naturals" olive oil).
                                        3-4 T lemon juice
                                        good splash of red wine vinegar
                                        healthy dash of cumin
                                        1 tsp. onion salt
                                        healthy dash garlic powder
                                        1 crushed pod of dried red hot chilie pepper
                                        2 T dried oregano (i had dried, so used it).
                                        (if i could've found my coriander, i would have used some ground coriander seed).

                                        throw in an orange bell pepper, which has been de-seeded and the white ribs trimmed out, then cut into 1" squares (i think the trader joe's peppers are a good deal).
                                        then an onion, cut similarly

                                        marinate for an hour in the fridge.

                                        i was going to skewer them, but couldn't find my longer skewers, so i just dumped the whole thing into a shallow baking dish (there was not a lot of marinade, but it did cover the entire bottom of the dish), along with some small tomatoes (also from trader joe's, like marble size). i baked it for about 20-25 minutes in a 300 degree oven (more or less on time and oven temp).

                                        i guess it was a cross between oil poaching and baking. but whatever the technique fusion is, the dish tasted so delicious. i'll definitely be making this regularly (and ps -- it was better than the brochettes at lebanese taverna, if i do say so myself -- defintely more succulent!).

                                        oh dang it, i just remember i had some fresh fennel bulb that i was also going to put in the dish, but it was just fine without it. i'll use the shaved fennel on my arugula with lemon vinaigrette and fresh parmigiano reggiano.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          sorry for the overuse of the word terrific up there!
                                          so substitute freely any of the following:
                                          marvelous, fabulous, delicious, savory, sensational, brilliant.

                                          btw, this is the website for that olive oil company, at the specific url for the product i used ("rich & robust") http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/nc...

                                          it is a great value for the price. i typically just use it for finishing, but it made a very tasty marinade.

                                        2. MEXICAN OREGANO CHICKEN


                                          • For the chicken
                                          o chicken thighs or drumsticks (bone in, skin on, removed from packaging and seasoned with kosher salt)
                                          o white onion (1, roughly chopped)
                                          o garlic (two large cloves, peeled and halved)
                                          o cold water, or chicken stock if you have good fresh stuff on hand (~1 cup)
                                          o potato (1, Yukon Gold, halved lengthwise, halved lengthwise again, sliced thin, then chopped roughly)
                                          o apple cider vinegar (splash)
                                          o corn tortillas
                                          o kosher salt
                                          • For the oregano sauce
                                          o fresh oregano (bunch, de-stemmed and roughly chopped)
                                          o garlic (8 cloves, peeled and chopped)
                                          o olive oil (about a cup)
                                          o kosher salt
                                          • For garnish
                                          o cilantro (just a bit, for garnish, roughly chopped)
                                          o serrano pepper (1, sliced paper thin, for garnish)
                                          o non-iodized salt, in shaker
                                          o bottled hot sauce (your favorite, mine’s “Valentina”)


                                          • Chef’s knife
                                          • Cutting board
                                          • Cast iron skillet
                                          • Small food processor/blender
                                          • Tongs
                                          • Metal spatula
                                          • Hot pads
                                          • Tortilla warmer (optional)


                                          Do all prep before starting. Get ingredients, assemble them on counter, and prepare them as described above.

                                          Place the chicken into a cold, cast iron skillet in a single layer, with plenty of room between each piece. Turn the skillet to high and add the onions and the two halved garlic pieces between the chicken pieces, so they touch the skillet. Pour in the liquid. As the chicken cooks, make the oregano sauce, see below. When liquid begins to simmer, reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered, flipping the chicken periodically with tongs and agitating the onions and garlic, until the liquid evaporates, and the chicken is cooked through or nearly cooked through. Deglaze the pan with more water or stock, if needed.

                                          Take the skillet off the heat. With a fork and knife, run gashes through the chicken pieces on both sides. Put the chicken back in the skillet and apply the oregano sauce liberally to the chicken, on the outside and also working it into the gashes. Liberally splash some oregano sauce on the skillet bottom as well and turn the heat back on to medium. Position a rack in the top position in the oven and turn the broiler onto high.

                                          Add the potatoes around the chicken pieces. Splash the vinegar conservatively onto the chicken and potatoes. Turn the chicken and potatoes in the skillet until the potatoes are just cooked through, and the chicken is starting to fall apart. Season the potatoes with the salt.

                                          Turn off the burner and put the skillet under the broiler. Leave under the broiler until the chicken and potatoes are crackling and take on a golden color. With plenty of oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, flip the chicken pieces, and agitate the potatoes. Put back under broiler until the other side of the chicken is crackling and golden, remove it from the oven. Place the tortillas in a tortilla warmer (or wrapped in a clean towel in a covered bowl), with a sprinkle of water to steam them, in the microwave until piping hot.

                                          Serve the chicken and potatoes on plates. Serve the tortillas in center of table. Serve the serrano and cilantro garnishes separately, in bowls. Put out salt shaker and bottled hot sauce. Have guests cut apart chicken with knife and fork and assemble their own tacos with the chicken, potatoes, sprinkle of salt, and dash of hot sauce.

                                          Oregano sauce:

                                          Put the oregano, chopped garlic, and a liberal pinch of salt into a small food processor or blender. Add the olive oil until it nearly reaches the top of the garlic and oregano. Liquefy.