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Help me learn to like Oregano...

shaogo Nov 1, 2009 10:07 AM

Friend brought over a home-made lasagna. I was (as usual) overwhelmed by the taste of bitter, overpowering oregano, in the sauce.

When I make "red sauce," I use bay leaves, flat parsley and basil -- *never* any oregano. Nobody's ever criticized my sauce for being oregano-free. In fact, lots of people ask me for the recipe.

However, it seems that oregano's a pretty integral part of any "Italian-style" spice amalgam these days. So people must enjoy it.

I'll never add oregano to my red sauce, but perhaps some 'Hounds would like to share their favorite oregano uses/recipes.

FYI: the *only* recipe in my repertoire which calls for oregano is for plum tomatoes stuffed with rice, (fresh) oregano, and lemon rind, in chicken broth. I kinda like the way oregano plays off of lemon flavor.

  1. Karl S Nov 1, 2009 10:15 AM

    Well, I love oregano for certain things (like baked or roasted chicken). When it's paired with tomato, it should really be a post-cooking topping (like on pizza); if it's cooked with tomato for a long time, it tends to accentuate the bitter notes in tomatoes and obliterate the fruity notes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S
      shaogo Nov 1, 2009 10:22 AM

      Yes! Yes! That's what I meant ("if it's cooked with tomato for a long time, it tends to accentuate the bitter notes in tomatoes..."). Until seeing that, I always thought it was the oregano alone and not the oregano *in combination* with something else...

      I don't think I've ever had an oregano-roasted chicken, and by golly, I'm game to start. Tuesday night I'm cooking at home so I'll do it.

    2. f
      fourunder Nov 1, 2009 10:24 AM

      shaogo,

      Do you like grilled steak? If so, probably my favorite steak is Tuscan Style. Marinate with fresh oregano and olive oil. Grill, then slice and bruise some more fresh oregano over the steak slices, squeeze fresh lemon and drizzle with more olive oil.

      3 Replies
      1. re: fourunder
        shaogo Nov 1, 2009 10:37 AM

        fourunder:

        I *love* a grilled steak. I'd like to try your recipe, but I fear that the oregano will overpower the flavor of even the richest-tasting cut of beef.

        I have the ingredients (except for the oregano) on hand all the time for a grilled steak, so I guess I'll give it a try. Perhaps this'll be the acid test of whether I warm up to oregano or not.

        1. re: shaogo
          f
          fourunder Nov 1, 2009 10:46 AM

          It's never a good idea to ruin a perfectly good piece of meat......

          may I suggest you infuse some fresh oregano into a small amount of olive oil and try dipping a piece of meat (of any kind) to see if you can appreciate it and proceed to the next level?

          1. re: fourunder
            Karl S Nov 1, 2009 11:33 AM

            An excellent suggestion.

            With oregano as with any pungent seasoning, start with small quantities. You can always add more if you find you'd like it.

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