Oregano really gets the short end of the stick.
While people go wacky over blending oodles of basil into lush pesto and get giddy over glasses of fresh mint tea, oregano is usually just weighed down in pizza sauce.
This gutsy herb deserves better, especially since it’s a great source of vitamin K and it has been shown to boast serious antioxidant levels (four times more than blueberries!) and to be an effective anti-bacterial. Oregano essential oil is so potent that it has even been shown to kill the hospital superbug MRSA and to combat the bacteria that causes food poisoning.
This hardy perennial is also a snap to grow: It’s accustomed to carpeting sun-blasted Mediterranean slopes, so in comparison, your cared-for window box will seem like a luxury.
Marissa Lippert, the registered dietitian behind the nutrition counseling firm Nourish and owner of Nourish Kitchen + Table —a seasonally inﬂuenced, locally inspired food shop and café in New York City—is wise to oregano’s ways: “Fresh oregano is one of my favorite summertime herbs,” she says. “I’ve got a tiny balcony at home and oregano is probably the most prevalent herb in my herb box.”
Read on for her three easy ways to incorporate fresh oregano into your cooking ASAP.
1. For an incredibly easy appetizer or snack: Slow-roast heirloom cherry tomatoes at 300° with a good amount of olive oil, ample fresh oregano, crushed garlic cloves, sea salt, pepper and chile flakes. Spread the mixture on toasted crostini just by itself or with a bit of feta or fresh goat cheese.
2. Stuff whole fish with a mixture of fresh herbs like oregano, thyme and parsley and spring onions as well as lemon slices. Season generously with sea salt, pepper and olive oil, and cook on a well-oiled grill for about 10 minutes on each side until cooked through.
3. Whip up a riff on chimichurri for a delicious sauce for steak, shrimp, chicken, roasted potatoes…really anything you can think of. Whisk together finely chopped fresh oregano, cilantro, parsley, minced garlic and shallots, red wine vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, a touch of ground cumin and fennel seed and red chile flakes.