One of my favorite herbs to use with fish is fresh thyme. It smells wonderful. It adds a chefy flair to otherwise pedestrian dishes. The tiny leaves are pretty and versatile. It adds subtle character to the flavor of a fresh fish or shrimp dish. I use it all the time. The problem with thyme, is that you can’t possibly buy a small enough quantity for just one meal, and I was raised to believe that wasting food is among the greatest sins that one can commit. So, whenever I buy a package of thyme, I feel compelled to try to use it all and the result is that I force way more than I need into my preparation. This takes away more than it adds. If you plan to cook seafood regularly, or any food for that matter, I strongly recommend planting some thyme. In fact, plant a whole herb garden.
Thyme is a small, unassuming plant that can fit into any home or garden. Regardless of the climate you live in, I am certain the local nursery can set you up with an easy way to grow some thyme. Even the window of a tiny apartment can work for a potted thyme plant. Where a rosemary bush could potentially fill an acre, thyme can get by in a 6” pot. Beyond that, consider the other herbs that you might want to use. Most of them are pretty easy to grow. It may seem counter-intuitive, but grow the herbs you use the least frequently first. You might use sage 4 times a year, but if you have to buy it every time, chances are, you’ll just omit it from the recipe and miss out on all that rustic, delicious sage flavor. Or maybe you’ll try to substitute ground sage and be mildly disappointed. Grow herbs and you will eat better and enjoy your dinner more. You’ll be more apt to experiment. Plus it feels great to go out to the garden and pick something that you grew yourself. It really offers a sense of pride and accomplishment and it taps into that primal instinct of taking responsibility for your own survival.
I grow thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, oregano, basil, Thai basil, and mint. I don’t grow cilantro because I struggle to keep it from going to seed and I use so much of it that I would clear-cut my plants in the first week. Of the herbs I grow, most of them grew from seed and I probably have less than $40 in my entire setup. Considering that I can supply all of my needs for these throughout the year, I am positive I am coming out ahead financially. I pick them as needed, so they are fresher and there is no waste, and they will mostly thrive without much attention other than some watering in the summer. Do yourself a favor and get a few small plants growing right away. Experiment with some herbs you don’t often use. Maybe some dill or some fennel. Experiment and expand your culinary horizons, just like I encourage you to do with fish. You’ll be glad you did.