Native to the Mediterranean, thyme is an all purpose herb which adds a wonderful mild flavor and is indispensable in the kitchen, especially in French and Italian cuisine. Thyme buttresses and balances other flavors in a dish. Top notes like parsley, onion, garlic, and ginger taste less complex without the minty warmth that thyme contributes to the overall flavor. Unlike rosemary, which tends to dominate other flavors in a dish, thyme shares the spotlight with other herbs graciously, perfuming foods with its warm, aromatic flavor. A few finely chopped leaves added at the last minute bring the other flavors into sharper focus.
It's commonly used to season soups, sauces, and braises. It also makes a welcome addition in potatoes, rice dishes, vegetables and even fresh bread. It pairs well with other Mediterranean herbs like oregano and marjoram.
Fresh thyme can be added to a recipe whole with the stem, or the leaves can be removed from the stem and then sprinkled into a dish. If a recipe calls for a sprig of thyme, the leaves and stem should be kept intact. When adding thyme with the stem, make sure to remove it before serving because the stems are tough and you don’t want to eat them.
Making thyme tea is as easy as steeping a few thyme sprigs in hot water. You will need about 3 thyme sprigs for 1 1/2 cup of boiling water. Thyme tea tastes great on its own and you can also add a slice of ginger, lemon, and a little bit of honey to the tea.