For tax time, add fresh thyme to a G&T. Photo courtesy Q Tonic.
If your taxes are in, you deserve a drink today. And if you haven’t sent them in by day’s end, you may need two drinks!
Here’s a variation of the gin and tonic with a sprig of thyme, for tax time. It’s the creation of Q Tonic, an elegant, all natural* tonic water created to complement fine spirits.
RECIPE: GIN & TONIC WITH FRESH THYME
Ingredients Per Drink
4 ounces tonic water
2 ounces gin
4 sprigs fresh thyme†
1 lime wedge
1. ADD the gin to a cocktail shaker. Add 3 sprigs of thyme and gently muddle. Add the ice and shake.
2. STRAIN into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a line wedge and sprig of fresh thyme.
*If you buy major brands, check the labels to see if they’re all natural or made with artificial quinine flavor.
†Fresh thyme should be stored in the produce bin of the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. If you’re storing it for more than a day, put the damp towel with thyme in a plastic bag.
WHAT TO DO WITH EXTRA FRESH THYME
Don’t let fresh herbs dry out in the fridge; find something else to do with them. Thyme is a great partner many popular foods.
Beans: Thyme is the go-to herb for bean dishes, whether hot or in a bean salad.
Braises: Add it to anything braised (like pot roast), simmered or stewed. If cooking with multiple sprigs, tie them together with kitchen twine to make removal easier.
Breads: Add to corn bread or corn muffins, other savory muffins, sausage bread, etc.
Casseroles: Even if your recipe includes another herb, add an equal amount (or half as much) of fresh thyme.
Eggs: Add to omelets and scrambled eggs.
Freeze: Wash, dry thoroughly and seal in heavy-duty plastic bags. When ready to use, the frozen leaves come right off the stems, and the tiny leaves defrost almost immediately.
Fish: Poach fish, with lemon slices and sprigs of thyme on top of the fish, and additional thyme in the poaching liquid.
Pasta and risotto: Add chopped fresh thyme to the sauce or garnish for pasta; add to risotto towards the end of cooking with some lemon zest.
Pork: Add to sauces for grilled or roasted pork, or use in the marinade and/or as a garnish.
Potatoes: Add to roasted or scalloped potatoes. If you don’t have chives, add fresh thyme to baked potatoes as well.
Poultry: Add to the cavity of the bird before roasting, and/or tuck leaves under the skin. Add to the marinade of cut pieces.
Rub: Blend with mustard, salt and garlic to make a rub for roast lamb or pork.
Salads: Add to a vinaigrette‡ or sprinkle atop salad greens.
Soups and stocks: Season with fresh thyme (it’s great in bean or lentil soup).
It’s easy to grow fresh thyme indoors or as a patio plant. Get seeds from Burpee.com. Photo courtesy Burpee.
Spreads and dips: Mix in fresh thyme, to sour cream- or yogurt-based dips or hummus.
Stuffing: Mix in fresh or dried thyme.
Sweets: Try some in shortbread or other butter cookies.
Tomatoes: Add to tomato sauces and soups; sprinkle on grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, or atop the tomato on a burger.
Vegetables: Add to sauteed mushrooms; make a thyme vinaigrette‡ or a Dijon-yogurt sauce for steamed or grilled vegetables.
Thyme, like all fresh and dried herbs, should be added toward the end of the cooking process since heat can easily cause a loss of its delicate flavor. This is less of an issue with quick-cooking dishes like scrambled eggs, as opposed to long-cooking beans and stews.
There are some 60 different varieties of thyme. The variety typically found in U.S. markets is French thyme, also called common thyme, Thymus vulgaris. The upper leaf is green-grey in color on top, while the underside is a whitish color.
Check farmers markets for lemon thyme, orange thyme and silver thyme, or grow your own.
Native to Asia, the Mediterranean and southern Europe, thyme has been used since ancient times for its culinary, aromatic and medicinal properties.
The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve deceased pharaohs.
In ancient Greece, thyme was burned as a temple incense for its fragrance.
‡Thyme vinaigrette recipe: Crush a large garlic clove and add to 5 ounces extra virgin olive oil. Allow flavors to blend for an hour or longer. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon minced shallots,
2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar. Remove the garlic cloves and gradually add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add salt and black pepper to taste.