OREGANO – Origanum vulgare
HERB OF THE YEAR 2005
Oregano is a very vigorous perennial. It takes over more and more of your garden space every year. In the Spring is the best time to control it by digging out all that is not wanted. Both leaves and flowers are edible. It has been on Earth for thousands of years. Most of its early uses were medicinal. Oregano is most familiar now a days for being a main ingredient in pizza and spaghetti sauce. It also adds a nice flavor to egg and cheese dishes, is great in bread, on marinated vegetables, roasted peppers, beef, pork, poultry, game, black beans, eggplant and shellfish.
I use oregano in several of my mixes: Pizza, Spaghetti, Herbs for Bread, and Italian Dressing Mix. When I home-can spaghetti sauce I use fresh Oregano. I also use it on grilled pork chops and inside of a roasting chicken. The flowers of oregano dry very nicely for dried bouquets and other decorative uses.
PETTI DI POLLA ALLA BOLOGNESE
4 whole chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) cut in half
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon each oregano, marjoram and parsley
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs, fine
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, in a chunk
Mix butter, oregano, marjoram and parsley together. Spread half of butter mixture on top of cheese (use the side with the largest surface), set aside the other half of the butter mixture. Score (mark with a knife so when it gets hard it will already be marked and won’t crack unevenly) the butter into 8 even markings (I usually mark 2 one way and 4 the other). Place cheese and butter into the refrigerator until butter becomes firm. Meanwhile place the halved chicken breasts between two pieces of Saran Wrap and pound with a wooden mallet to flatten. Remove cheese and butter from the refrigerator and cut cheese where you marked the butter. Place one of these sticks on each pounded chicken breasts; roll as for jelly roll; fasten with toothpicks. Coat chicken rolls with flour, dip in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs. At this point I put them in a freezer bag along with the butter after I wrap it in Saran Wrap. This may be kept frozen for several months. The day you are ready to prepare it, let it thaw out for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. When thawed, place chicken breasts in a sprayed or greased flat baking dish and bake uncovered, at 350 F for 20 minutes. Meanwhile unwrap butter and melt it in a small saucepan and stir in the wine. When the timer rings, pour wine and butter mixture over chicken and bake for another 15 minutes. I serve this with FRAWLEY’S FINE HERBARY HERB RICE MIX and pour the liquid from the baking dish over the rice. Serves 4 to 6.
SPANAKOPITA (Greek Spinach Pie)
1 cup onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups crumbled feta cheese (12 ounces)
2 cups cottage cheese (1 pound)
2 packages chopped spinach
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tablespoons flour
5 eggs (whipped with fork)
salt and pepper to taste
1 package Filo pastry
1 cup Butter, melted
Sauté onions in 3 Tbsp. butter. Add spinach which has been cooked in the microwave and squeezed fairly dry. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl EXCEPT FILO AND 1 CUP BUTTER. Place 8 layers of Filo into 9 X 13” pan, brushing butter between each layer. Add filling, then put 8 more layers of Filo on top of filling, brushing butter between each layer. Bake at 375º for 45 minutes. (You may substitute 1 Tbsp. fresh dill and 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley for basil and oregano).
CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS AND HERBS
2 chicken breasts, boned and split into halves
1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/8 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons herbal vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Cut chicken breasts in 1/2 inch strips. Put in large bowl. Add mushrooms, herbs, shallots, wine, 1/8 cup olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Let it marinate at least 1/2 hour. Put butter and olive oil in heated fry pan. Add all contents from bowl and stir until done. Serve with the spaetzle.
STUFFED MUSHROOMS with OREGANO
This is a recipe from my herb friend Susan Belsinger. She says “This dish capitalizes on the absorbent property of mushrooms; here, they are cooked in a little wine. These popular appetizers lend themselves to several variations: you may cook them in broth rather than wine, use marjoram instead of oregano, or add a few tiny imported canned clams to the stuffing and cook the mushrooms in the clam juice.
12 large mushrooms
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp. fresh
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Carefully wipe the mushrooms clean. Remove the stems and mince them. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and sauté the stems with the garlic over moderate heat for about 3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the parsley, oregano, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Season will with salt and pepper, and blend the mixture well. Divide the stuffing among the mushroom caps, packing and mounding it. Arrange the mushrooms in a lightly butter 11-by-8-inch gratin dish. Add the wine to the dish and bake the mushrooms for 10 minutes.
Place the dish under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat for about 1 minute, or until the tops are golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms with a slotted spatula to a warm platter. Serve hot or warm. Serves 6 to 12