HERE andTHERE

Cooking with Rob Evans at Hugo’s in Portland, Maine


| February/March 2006


PORTLAND, MAINE – “Every dish needs a flavor pop,” says Rob Evans, chef and co-owner of Hugo’s in Portland, Maine. Often that pop comes from fresh herbs in his kitchen. “I probably use more herbs than the typical chef. They’re a huge focus in our food. I love them for their aromatic qualities and the freshness they add to food,” he says.

Evans admits he’s obsessed with finding the freshest local ingredients and turning them into dishes that admittedly stretched the palates of his diners in 2000 when he and partner Nancy Pugh bought a tiny restaurant here named Hugo’s. “I was in a blue-collar town trying to do really great food. I had to go slow at first and get customers to trust me.”

The trust came, and so did reputation. Food & Wine magazine named Evans to its Best New Chefs list in 2004. Today, Hugo’s draws a regular local crowd as well as fine food aficionados from all over New England. They come to sample appetizers like Cucumber Panna Cotta with Maine Peekytoe Crab and Fines Herbes Salad or Duck Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Lavender Vinaigrette. As a main course, they might try Juniper-Cured Venison or Seared Halibut with Ramps and Chives. Diners who opt for his multi-course tasting menu sometimes start their meal with a lemon verbena soda and a selection of snacks, including potato chips seasoned with herb salt. Throughout his menu, Evans uses herbs in supporting roles to enhance and enliven the flavor of his food.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT HERBS

At any given time, Evans has a dozen or more herbs in his kitchen. Some, like basil, thyme, rosemary, chives and tarragon, are commonplace. Others are not as well known. For example, Evans uses burnet, an herb with a cucumberlike taste, to boost the flavor of cucumber dishes or provide a cucumber flavor in crab and lobster salads. He likes anise hyssop, which has a flavor somewhere between tarragon and mint, with lamb and duck or in dessert sorbets.

In spring and summer, Evans grows many of his own herbs. “If I can’t buy what I want, I grow it,” he says. Generally, he uses his own herbs, picked fresh, for garnishes. He usually purchases the herbs he’s going to chop and use in cooking.

While most herbs go with almost anything, selecting just the right herb for a particular dish takes “years of experience,” Evans believes. “Herbs really can change the essence of a dish and you can overuse them.” He cautions against using an herb twice in the same meal. “Don’t make a chowder with thyme and then use thyme in another dish,” he says. Herbs also should be combined with care. “Tarragon and thyme never go together. Tarragon is sweet and thyme is earthy.” Basil and rosemary also should not be combined. “Cilantro,” he says, “is overused and shouldn’t be combined with anything. Parsley, on the other hand, adds a freshness to dishes and is very versatile.”





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265