Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

October 1, 2008

Rosemary and Thyme

Filed under: American Food,Ice cream — Mr. Henry @ 12:52 pm

At The Bent Spoon in Princeton, New Jersey, they serve Earl Grey ice cream, an ethereal afternoon treat. They also serve apricot ice cream with thyme, equally ethereal, as well as chocolate ice cream with orange, mint or rosemary.

Mr. Henry understands the pairing of apricot and thyme, an exotic blend redolent of ancient Andalusia. At Nadia’s table he once ate rabbit stewed with prunes and thyme, a dish he would gladly reproduce at home if rabbits weren’t so cute, so fluffy, and so popular with younger eaters in the household.

Thyme is a sensual aromatic, less strident than rosemary. In the ancient world thyme was burned as incense. Rosemary is pushy, not as insistent as cardamom or clove, perhaps, but pushy nonetheless. Dried rosemary can easily overpower a tomato sauce or pot roast.

When Mrs. Henry ties fresh rosemary stems to a loin of pork, the oven fills with a delicious rosemary smoke that transports you to Provence. Rosemary goes well in sautéed mushrooms with bacon, garlic, and shallots, in meat stock, and in savory sauces using dry white wine or vermouth. Lamb absolutely demands it.

But rosemary with chocolate??

Despite serious misgivings Mr. Henry placed faith in the kitchen wizards at The Bent Spoon. Yesterday he braved a cupful of chocolate ice cream with rosemary, a pairing that seemed to defy imagination. Two distinct flavors from two distinctly different flavor groups came together into a heavenly post-prandial delight, an aromatic combination that simultaneously cleansed and perfused the palate. The experience was worth an hour on the New Jersey Turnpike.

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