Herbes de provence are a mixture of dried herbs like basil, marjoram, and tarragon, but it's the dried lavender that gives this blend of summer herbs its unexpected magic.
There are any number of combinations of herbs (there's also a spice in the mixture) that can make up herbes de provence, and so the question is, which ones are absolutely essential?
I have a jar of it in the pantry, and it features basil, fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, lavender, tarragon and thyme.
Other recipes variously include (or omit) savory, chervil, sage, oregano, and mint.
Those are all very nice, and personally I happen to think the mint is kind of important. And so is the lavender. In fact, you could take just about any combination of dried herbs, mix in some dried lavender flowers, and call it herbes de provence.
In fact, that's more or less what the Provençals did — they used whatever herbs they could get their hands on in summertime, which happened to be the herbs that grew in Provence, and voila! Herbes de Provence!
Realistically, you might not be able to collect all 11 of the ingredients below, but that's all right. Just don't leave out the lavender flowers, or the fennel seeds, or the savory, basil or thyme. Or the mint.
In fact, in thinking it through, it's not clear in what situation you will have access to nine herbs, one spice, and dried lavender flowers, but NOT have access to a store where you can buy a jar of herbes de provence. Thus this recipe is more informational than anything else, and the main piece of information you will hopefully take away is that if you have dried basil, dried marjoram and dried lavender flowers, you can make herbes de provence. You are not, in other words, sequencing DNA. You're just cooking.
With that said, don't leave out the lavender. Or the fennel.
One thing I like to do is take a skinless breast of chicken, coat it in olive oil and sprinkle both sides with Kosher Salt and h de P. Let it marinate for an hour or so, then grill it. That's it. Or, season skin-on chicken thighs the same way, then braise with white wine, tomatoes, and halved shallots.
Also see: Quiz: Is it an Herb or a Spice?
- 4 tablespoons thyme
- 3 tablespoons marjoram
- 3 tablespoons summer savory
- 2 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon tarragon
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon mint
- 1 teaspoon chervil
- 1 teaspoon mint
- 1 teaspoon lavender
Combine all the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.