• Grilled Salmon Fillets with Pineapple Mint Mango Salsa
• Mediterranean Tapénade with Orange Mint
• Roasted Balsamic Onion Rings with Apple Mint
• Lemon Raspberry Bars with Lemon Mint
• Ginger Mint Ginger Ale
The role of mints has changed over the centuries. We no longer use them to pay taxes or strew their stalks on the floor to mask bad odors. Today, mints belong in the kitchen—and not just for garnishing. Their uses go far beyond the traditional pairing with lamb and flavoring for jellies, teas, and juleps.
The ancient custom of concluding feasts by chewing a sprig of mint to settle the stomach and cleanse the breath persists today in the form of breath mints, but there’s no reason why a hostess can’t offer bright green sprigs of fragrant, fresh mint to nibble on after a meal. They are available, attractive, and inexpensive, especially if you keep a mint plant in your kitchen or on the patio.
With these recipes, I’ve been experimenting with some of the fruit-flavored mints, and I’m finding them almost as useful as the spearmint I’m more accustomed to using. Try substituting fruit mints in recipes that call for mint, such as lemonades and juleps, summer fruit salads, mint sauces to top fruit or ice cream, and vegetable dishes such as peas, carrots, and potatoes that need a flavor boost. Fill a vase with fresh fruit mint sprigs to permeate your kitchen with a clean, pleasant fragrance.
Terri Pischoff Wuerthner is a food and travel writer based in Sonoma County, California, who specializes in the culinary life and products of the wine country.