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What is oregano?

Oregano is a herb in the mint family. It is commonly used as a spice in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. The leaves of the oregano plant have a strong, pungent aroma and a warm, slightly bitter taste. The plant is native to Mediterranean regions and is also known as wild marjoram. Oregano is used in many dishes, including pizza, pasta sauces, and grilled meats. It is also sometimes used in medicinal preparations.

cooking with oregano

Are there different varieties of oregano?

Yes, there are different varieties of oregano. The two most common types are Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) and Mediterranean oregano (Origanum vulgare). Mexican oregano is a bit spicier and has a stronger aroma than Mediterranean oregano, which has a more delicate flavor. Greek oregano (Origanum heracleoticum) also exist and it is considered by many as the best flavor of all the Oregano types.

Additionally, there are also varieties that are grown for ornamental purposes and not used for culinary or medicinal purposes. These varieties may have different leaf shapes, colors or growth habits that differ from the edible varieties.

How do you cook with oregano?

Oregano is a versatile herb that can be used in many different dishes. It’s a key ingredient in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine, and it’s often used in combination with other herbs such as basil, thyme, and marjoram. Here are a few ways to cook with oregano:

  • Pizza and pasta sauces: Oregano is a classic ingredient in pizza and pasta sauces. It adds a warm, slightly bitter flavor that complements the tomato sauce.
  • Grilled meats: Oregano can be used to marinate meats such as chicken, pork, and lamb. It pairs well with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.
  • Salad dressings: Oregano can be used to make a simple vinaigrette for salads. It pairs well with olive oil, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.
  • Roasted vegetables: Oregano can be used to season roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.
  • Soups and stews: Oregano can be used to add flavor to soups and stews. It pairs well with tomatoes, beans, and meats.

When using oregano, it is best to add it towards the end of the cooking process as it can become bitter if it is cooked for too long. Additionally, it is recommend to use dried oregano, which has a stronger flavor than fresh oregano, but of course you can use fresh if you’d like.

What are some good dishes to make with oregano?

There are many delicious dishes that can be made with oregano. Here are a few examples:

  • Greek Souvlaki: A traditional Greek dish made with skewers of marinated and grilled meats (usually pork or chicken), often served with a side of tzatziki sauce and pita bread. Oregano is a key ingredient in the marinade, along with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.
  • Margherita Pizza: A classic Italian pizza made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Oregano is often added to the tomato sauce for extra flavor.
  • Chicken or lamb gyro: A traditional Greek dish made of meat (usually chicken or lamb) cooked on a vertical rotisserie, then shaved off and served in a pita bread with tzatziki and tomato/onion. Oregano is one of the most used spice in marinade and seasoning on top.
  • Enchiladas: A traditional Mexican dish made with corn tortillas filled with meat or cheese and topped with a spicy tomato sauce. Oregano is often used to flavor the sauce.
  • Baked Greek potatoes: A dish made by cutting potatoes in wedges and roasting them in olive oil and oregano. Usually lemon juice, garlic are added to the potatoes as well.
  • Greek Salad: A simple yet refreshing salad made of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, and olives. Oregano is often used in the dressing, along with olive oil and lemon juice.

These are only a few examples of the many delicious dishes that can be made with oregano. The herb’s warm, slightly bitter flavor pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients, making it a versatile addition to many different cuisines.

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