My second herb from this series is thyme, a Mediterranean native of the mint family; it is another one of the most widely used herbs. There is believed to be abutting 100 species of thyme. All thymes are pretty aromatic. Garden or Common Thyme, which grows easily from seed or cuttings, is the variety generally used in cooking
It is considered by many herbalists as the very nearly perfect useful herb. It ranks as one of the finest herbs of French cuisine. The general rule of using herbs in cooking is - when in doubt use thyme. Believe it or not is true all combines with thyme: Meats and vegetables in the same way
Choose fresh herbs that have good green color; avoid those that are wilted. Packaged seasonings lose quality after a while. Try to buy from a store that restocks its fresh herb section fairly often.
To storage refrigerate fresh thyme in damp paper towels over wrapped in plastic. Stored this way, thyme will keep for up to one week. Store dried thyme and ground thyme in a cool, dark, dry place. Dried thyme will keep up to one year, ground thyme up to six months.
In pharmaceutical industry thyme's most active ingredient, is thymol, used in such over-the-counter products as Listerine mouthwash and Vicks Vapo Rub because of its well-known antibacterial and antifungal properties.
I think thyme and potatoes makes a wonderful combination, so, as summer months are usually offering the best availability for fresh thyme I made this croquets using a classical Spanish recipe. That we ate in garden at Sunday evening with cold chardonnay.
Thyme, potato croquetas
2 large boiling potatoes
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs that I use the Japanese one for more crunchy
About 4 cups olive oil (not extra-virgin) for frying
Peel potatoes and cut in pieces. Cover with salted cold water in saucepan, then boil until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. Force potatoes through ricer into a medium bowl and cool.
Lightly beat 1 egg in a small bowl with a fork. Add to cooled potatoes along with herbs, butter, salt, and pepper and stir just until combined.
Spoon tablespoons of potato mixture onto a tray, then lightly roll each into a ball between palms of your hands and return to tray.
Lightly beat remaining 2 eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Spread flour in a shallow bowl, and then spread bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.
Roll balls in flour to coat, gently shaking off excess flour. Dip balls in egg, turning to coat and letting excess drip off, then roll in bread crumbs and return to tray.
Heat oil. Working in 4 batches, fry croquetas, turning if necessary, until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain
Croquetas can be fried up to 3 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. If you want, reheat in a preheated 400°F oven 8 minutes.