Lemon Balm Melon Gelee, Crab-stuffed Herb Tortellini, Parsley Pistachio Pesto … for these and a host of other herb-laced delights, be sure to visit North Pond restaurant next time you’re in Chicago.
“Most of my dishes incorporate herbs in some way,” says chef-owner Bruce Sherman, a James Beard Foundation nominee.
North Pond’s menu features fresh, locally grown produce, with much of it from the restaurant’s own kitchen garden. In the morning, you might see Sherman or a staff member gathering marjoram, lemon balm, parsley, chives, thyme, mint, sage, chamomile, anise hyssop, rosemary, bergamot, lavender, savory, sorrel or basil. Sherman recommends harvesting herbs in early morning, late afternoon or early evening to capture their peak flavor.
Which herbs are best for cooking? “Each herb has its own individual characteristics and personality,” he says, adding that he uses Thai basil for its fragrance, lemon basil for its flavor and opal basil for its beauty.
“Always try to use fresh herbs,” he advises, and “don’t subject them to intense or prolonged heat. This will destroy the nuances they bring to dishes.”
• Try Chef Sherman's Heirloom Tomato-Mozzarella Tart.