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84 WBM july 2013 container garden sits behind Aubriana’s restaurant in downtown Wilmington. Executive Chef Tyson Amick creates recipes with the fresh basil, mint, thyme, sage, cutting celery, stevia, baby kale, sorrel, rosemary, parsley, chives and other herbs from his garden. Leaves from the tomato plants offer a new base for pesto and other recipes — contrary to popular belief that tomato leaves are not edible, Amick says. He uses a lot more “soft” herbs, like basil, in the summer rather than “hard” herbs, like rosemary. In caring for herbs, he says to watch how much you cut them back. “A lot of people tend to cut a lot more off of the plant too fast, and it ends up dying as a result. You need to know when to say when, and let the plant have a breather,” he says. When cooking, he says it’s important to use fresh herbs later in the preparation of the dish. “That’s a big thing. I don’t know if it’s some-thing that’s rampant in home kitchens, but it seems to be a pretty common misconception amongst a lot of cooks . . . soft herbs — even hard herbs — don’t need to be used until much later in the dish.” If you are making soup, for example, and you add the herbs too early, then they will significantly lose flavor during the cooking process. So Amick suggests adding herbs at the last moment possible. He says summer herbs are very delicate and applying heat can harm them. “A perfect example of that is basil. I think basil tastes terrible if you add it to something that gets cooked for any lengthy period of time,” says Amick. In making pizza, many people put fresh basil on the pizza before they put it in the oven. “That’s just not a good idea,” says Amick. “Because basil will burn really easily, but even if it doesn’t burn, the flavor of it becomes severely changed, it becomes dull, it loses all of that bright fresh quality that it has.” He says wait until the pizza comes out of the oven and then put the basil on top. Fresh herbs offer the perfect finish to almost any dish. “You add a small amount of minced fresh herb to it at the last minute, whether that be soup, or some kind of salsa, relish, vinaigrette, anything — a little bit of chlorophyll at the end causes your palate to perceive all of the flavors a lot faster. So it’s a really, really useful finishing technique and it has a much bigger impact on food than, say, adding salt.” savor — guide to food & dining on the azalea coast Above: Chef Tyson Amick of Aubriana’s selects fresh herbs from the small garden in the court-yard behind the restaurant. Right: Green Eggs and Ham: sunny side up farm egg, smoked prosciutto, organic asparagus and tender herb salad, truffle oil and pure parsley chlorophyll and challah toast. A


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