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Herbes de Provence - uses

How do you use this blend of herbs? Jacques Pepin uses it all the time in his TV shows; Wikipedia says it's typically used for grilled meat and fish and in vegetable stews; I've made an omelet with it in place of fines herbes, and like it. Any more ideas?

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  1. an element of a dry rub on soon-to-be-roasted chicken, sprinkled on hard-boiled eggs, anywhere you might use parsley, but want something a bit more uhh, floral.

    1. It is fantastic on roast chicken. I also like using it on oven roasted potatoes.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodie06

        Second both these uses. Fabulous!!

        1. re: Bacardi1

          +1 to both prior posts. I just used it with potatoes roasted in duck fat and on a roast chicken (along with dijon mustard, olive oil, minced garlic and a bit of white wine). Yummy!

      2. I use it in dips, marinades and salad dressing, sandwich spreads.
        Along with fresh minced garlic on any protein before grilling.
        Garlic bread.
        Grilled veggies.
        Scrambled eggs.
        Tuna, egg & chicken salad
        Cold pasta salad

        1. Grilled lamb, lamb, lamb. Used in a marinade with olive oil, pepper, minced garlic, lemon juice for a few hours and then baste while grilling. The wild thyme and lavender in the mix add wonderful flavors to grilled lamb

          1. Herbes de provence is my go-to addition for scrambled eggs. So easy and delicious.

            1. Oatmeal
              Mashed potatoes
              Chicken soup
              French fries
              Focaccia

              1. I use it on all of those things -- as well as roasted meats, roasted vegetables -- it's one of the more versatile blends out there.

                It's important to mention, too, that the HdP that you buy in a French supermarket, or from vendors in French marchés, doesn't have lavender -- just thyme, oregano, savory, rosemary, and sage -- which makes it far less floral, and far more versatile.

                I love the aroma of lavender, but not in my food.

                11 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  That's what Wikipedia says, and Wikipedia is never wrong, is it? :-) But when Jacques Pépin mentions what's in herbes de Provence, he always mentions lavender even if nothing else, and where other than France could he have gotten that idea? It's authentic.

                  The blends available in the US include lavender - Penzeys, which I use, and McCormick Gourmet Collection. A couple of recipes online don't, maybe because lavender blossoms aren't easy to get unless you grow them, so those who prefer can make their own without. I like it with.

                  1. re: John Francis

                    Really? http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbes_d... -- no lavender in that list.

                    All I'm saying is the next time you're in France, go into a regular grocery store and look at the HdP. You won't find lavender there.

                    Go to a marché and look at the HdP being sold by the spice vendors. No lavender.

                    Go to a tourist shop anywhere in the country -- boom. Lavender. Lots of it.

                    HdP has been given a Label Rouge designation -- LR is a designation within France for products produced according to the traditional methods and traditional ingredients: http://www.herbes-de-provence.org/

                    No lavender there, either.

                    There's a lavender candy, and a lavender sirop (neither very common) -- but for the most part, the French use lavender oil for medicinal purposes, and the flowers for aromatic purposes...but they overwhelmingly do not consume it in any form.

                    Ducros is the French subsidiary of McCormick Spices -- here are their pages (one "regular", one Label Rouge):
                    http://www.ducros.fr/Produits/Poivres...
                    http://www.ducros.fr/Produits/Poivres...

                    and no, the lady at Penzey's didn't like it when she found out I live in France and said "Oh, don't you just LOVE our herbes de Provence? It has lots of lavender in it, just like in France -- isn't it JUST LIKE what you buy?" She turned on her heel and walked away when I told her that it doesn't have lavender here.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      That's all very well, but where did lavender come from as an herb de Provence if not France, and where did the French-born and French-trained chef Jacques Pépin get the notion that lavender is an important component? Explain that to me.

                      Is there some kind of civil war being fought over this issue, as with methods of barbecue? Or what?

                      Not that I really care that much, certainly not as much as you do - and I'm certainly not going to France to check it out.

                      1. re: John Francis

                        It's added to HdP for the tourists. That is not, as has been accused in prior threads where I've mentioned this difference, being uppity or looking down on tourists -- it's simply the statement that the HdP in tourist shops has lavender, but the stuff that French people buy in French groceries to use in their homes has no lavender.

                        It's also simply a statement of observation that French people don't usually consume lavender (although it gets a lot of use for other things, as I mentioned).

                        I'm going to guess that it is added for the tourists...and Pepin uses it because he knows darned well that lavender is in the HdP found in the US, and cooks for primarily a US audience, so he uses and talks about the stuff that's available to his audience.

                        There's no civil war at all -- HdP in France doesn't have lavender, so there's nothing to fight over.

                        I mentioned it because it's a rather significant difference, and what someone makes in the US with US-formula HdP is going to taste very, very different than a dish they ate in France, made with French-formula HdP.

                        Use what you like -- it matters not a whit to me either way -- but it's a big enough difference to mention.

                      2. re: sunshine842

                        I respectfully but seriously disagree with you. And using "Wikipedia" as an authentic source? Puhleeze.

                        And do consider that lavender is used primarily in the cooking of the Provence region. Not the entire country of France. I wonder if perhaps you're confused. Just "living in France" doesn't automatically mean that you're personally acquainted with the cooking of all the regions of the entire country. Just as I'm not personally acquainted with the cooking of all the regions of the U.S.A.

                        And Jacques Pepin aside, perhaps you should look into the cooking & writings of the late great Richard Olney. Although U.S. born, he was one of Provence-cooking's sons.

                        1. re: Bacardi1

                          Here's a link: http://herbes-de-provence.org/plantes...
                          for the official 'Label Rouge' description of Herbes de Provence (Label Rouge being a French government designation of quality - in this case, recipe - as in A O C). According to them, the mixture consists of thyme, rosemary, savory, oregano & basil. On the other hand, I spend about half the year in Provence, and, although I find an occasional dish flavored with lavender, it is almost always some form of dessert (as opposed to a savory dish for which Herbes de Provence might be used). Edit: Sorry I see Sunshine already gave this link.

                          1. re: boredough

                            thanks for the backup, boredough -- I swear mentioning this is like some sort of sacrilege.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              And I agree with you about lavender in my food: it makes everything taste like soap so I try to avoid it at all costs...!

                          2. re: Bacardi1

                            I linked to the French wiki entry in response to the reference of the English wiki entry. Not using it as an authentic source, by any stretch of a vivid imagination. For that I used the site of the producers of Herbes de Provence (and the Ducros website, which is the largest supplier of herbs and spices to grocery stores across France)

                            I've spent a considerable amount of time in Provence -- so yes, I am familiar with the cooking of that region -- as is boredough, who backs me up just above.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              You know - bottom line here.

                              Does it really make THAT much of a difference to you that folks enjoy the lavender in Herbes de Provence mixes? Are you really losing sleep over it???
                              Is it absolutely necessary to state that anyone who enjoys lavender in Herbes de Provence must be a "tourist" (which has an underlying conotation that they don't know good food)?

                              The lavender is an absolutely DELICIOUS addition to the herb mix. I LOVE using it. Particularly on poultry. Does it REALLY make a difference whether it's "authentic" to your sensibilities or not?

                              To me? No.

                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                as I mentioned above -- it's important if someone is trying to recreate the flavor of a dish they ate in France, because the two mixes are not the same

                                You have chosen to misinterpret my post -- in which I said " That is not, as has been accused in prior threads where I've mentioned this difference, being uppity or looking down on tourists -- it's simply the statement that the HdP in tourist shops has lavender, but the stuff that French people buy in French groceries to use in their homes has no lavender."

                                I also said "Use what you like -- it matters not a whit to me either way -- but it's a big enough difference to mention." If you like it, cool - but as boredough said above, it tastes like soap to me, so I don't buy it.

                                The stuff is different. It tastes different. It behaves differently in food, and if someone is trying to replicate actual Provençal food, it's entirely possible that they'd be interested in using the actual Provençal blend (or at least knowing why their dish doesn't taste the same).

                                Therefore it's worth mentioning on a site that discusses food, although it continually amazes me how a simple statement of a rather significant difference gets treated as a mortal sin.

                    2. Not only do I use it on roast chicken, but when I make beer can chicken. Make a rub with the herb mixture, paprika, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, then put the herbs inside the can with the beer, butter, garlic cloves. So good!

                      1. I love it to season any kind of oven roasted root vegetables.

                        1. It is one of my seasonings, especially in chicken dishes and, as someone else suggested, for oven-roasted potatoes. But my predominant use for it is in the home-made vinaigrette.

                            1. re: drucie

                              Mine, too! Or in the buttery cast iron potatoes that go with the omelet.

                            2. I also use the Penzey's H de P mixture. I use it with many of the above, lately have been flinging it into anything and everything because I have a lot. I especially like what it does to my Minestrone, adding depth that it lacked with just the usual oregano, basil seasoning.

                              I have to confess that I had never checked the mixture of spices prior to this thread...I received my large unlabeled, 'baggie' of Penzeys second-hand from a family member who is such a purist she doesn't use mixes. When I was persuaded that mine DOES include lavendar, I was, taken aback...like others I thought I didn't like lavendar in my food. Guess I like it after all!

                              1. It's lovely in vegetable or chicken pot pie.

                                1. On popcorn. Just made some garlic butter, popped the kernels and shook on the herbs de p...delicious!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Hmm. interesting - mght have to try that one.

                                  2. I love it on pan-steamed green beans, finished with some butter and garlic. :}

                                    1. I like to toss some into my beef bourguignon

                                      1. I infuse honey with it and glaze pork and duck. Just made crackers this morning with herbes de provence. I always make my own blends.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: chefathome

                                          Honey mixed with freshed squeezed orange juice and Herbes de Provence make a great glaze (especially for pork).

                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                            those both sound great, (note to self...)

                                        2. I use it in a baked omelette with goat cheese. I think it goes particularly well with goat cheese. There is a bread recipe using it at Epicurious, I believe, that I've made several times. Just love the stuff.

                                            1. I use it in most dishes, to saute mushrooms in butter and B&B, or to make a lobster sauce over shellfish and tilapia, or chicken dishes with B&B. I use it in nearly everything I cook. I love it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: virgie

                                                Virgie, Please tell me what B&B means? Can't find it any searches.
                                                Thanks
                                                bill,
                                                Alb.

                                                1. re: wanliker

                                                  Hi, Bill!
                                                  Benedictine and Brandy. You can find it at Trader Joe's. It blends well with french country herbs, mushrooms, etc. Anything I sautee usually ends up with B&B.
                                                  Hope that helps. Please let me know what you think of it.
                                                  Cheers,

                                                  V

                                              2. I use it on fish of course with a bit of olive oil and lemon slices.