If dried herb blends are not a kitchen staple in your home already, then you’re really missing out. They are an effortless way to add salt-free flavor to nearly any dish, from soups and sauces to casseroles and meat rubs. And even if you’re not much of a cook, a pinch of good dried herbs will give a wonderful boost to any ready-made meal.
I’m all about DYI-ing your own spice mixes and herb blends for several reasons, namely to control salt, additives, preservatives, and last but not least freshness. I suppose we have launched a mini-series of sorts here, as I’m showing you how to easily put together some of the most famous blends: we tackled Greek Seasoning in my previous post, and we’re making Herbes de Provence today along with a classic seafood recipe to use it with—Italian Seasoning will soon follow, I promise. Let’s get onto swirling and mixing:
Herbes de Provence & Garlic Shrimp with Wine Sauce
Truth be told, Provençal grandmothers were not aware of the famous seasoning that we nowadays call herbes de Provence but individually used thyme, rosemary, and savory gathered from the countryside. It wasn’t until the 1970s when Julia Child began teaching home chefs around the world about French cooking that commercial varieties of the mixture, like that of Ducros (now part of McCormick & Co, began popping up in grocery stores. These blends contain savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. In the US market, lavender is also typically included—perhaps due to the association of Provence with lavender fields—though lavender appears nowhere in the recipes of Jean-Baptiste Reboul‘s famous anthology of Provençal cooking.
Herbes de Provence
- 1 tbsp lavender flowers dried
- 1 tbsp rosemary dried, minced
- 1 tbsp savory dried, minced
- 1 tbsp parsley dried
- 1 tbsp thyme dried
- 1 tbsp marjoram dried
- 1 tbsp basil dried
- 1 tsp oregano dried
- 1 tsp fennel seeds ground
- 1 tsp tarragon dried
- Measure out your ingredients carefully—if you go down the list in a hurry, it's possible to misread quantities or to leave an herb out.
- Make sure you double-check and take your time. Whisk to combine.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
*images by Athina D. Pantazatou for Kicking Back the Pebbles
Simple Garlic Shrimp With Wine Sauce
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (500 g) shelled and deveined
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 2 tsp garlic minsed
- ¼ cup dry white wine (60 ml)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ¼ tsp lemon zest grated
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence seasoning blend
- Arrange the shrimp on a clean surface (e.g. a large cookie sheet) so that they are evenly spaced and lay flat. Pat them completely dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.
- Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saucepan. When the foam subsides, add in the shrimp all at once. Let them cook for one minute without tossing them around. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Turn the shrimp over and cook for two more minutes. Transfer shrimp to a bowl.
- Return skillet to the heat and pour in the wine and lemon juice. Boil the liquid until slightly thickened, about half a minute. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir the lemon zest and Herbes de Provence into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the shrimp, season with a little bit more salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Serve immediately.