Trend alert! Fried fresh herbs are popping up on restaurant dishes all over the place these days. It’s nothing new for hearty herbs such as sage or rosemary, but we’re finding delicate herbs like basil, mint and parsley being fried up as well.
What do fried herbs add to a dish? Texture, elegance and flavour. On top of that delightful crunch, fried herbs are simply gorgeous. When fried properly, they resemble stained-glass; and their translucency reveals the wonderful detailing on the leaves of the herbs. Finally, fried herbs are have a subtle flavour making them a perfect garnish.
Fried herb leaves are a garnish that has been around for ages. This technique, however, is lesser known than that of just throwing some herb leaves into hot oil. The problem with oil frying your leaves is that they will curl up, and usually turn brown. Using a microwave to fry your herb leaves for garnish will allow you to keep them nice and flat.
- Start by picking the herb leaves that you want to fry and dipping them in canola oil.
- Take an oven safe plate with a slightly raised rim and stretch a piece of plastic wrap over it so that it is nice and tight.
- Take your herb leaves that were dipped in oil and spread them out on top of the plastic wrap.
- Cover with another piece of plastic, wrapping it securely around the plate.
Poke a couple of holes in the plastic, and then microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes.
- Carefully remove the plate from the microwave using a thick towel or an oven mitt. The plate will be extremely hot.
- Once the plate has cooled enough to handle, carefully remove the top sheet of plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.and lay the herb leaves between paper towels to dry.
- The reason why this works is because of how microwaves interact with the water molecules in the herb leaves. The microwaves start knocking the water molecules around which in turn start pushing the oil molecules around. Since heat is nothing more than a measurement of molecular movement, the oil in which the herb leaves were dipped heats up and “fries” them.
- A nice little touch is to brush the herb leaves with gold dust, especially if used for a dessert garnish.
- Coconut oil adds a nice flavor profile.