Mint Surprise

SpearmintI was warned. Friends told me: mint will take over your garden if you let it. So I planted my spearmint and peppermint in their own pots, where they couldn’t encroach on neighboring herbs. I thought this would limit the amount I ended up with. And yet ……

I have such an abundance of mint now that no quantity of mint tea or mint juleps could possibly use it all up. Happily, this has encouraged me to add sprigs to all kinds of dishes that I never considered mint-friendly before. So from my kitchen to yours, here’s a trio of “newly minted” favorites:

summer salad with mint

My first summer salad with mint (and purple basil and dill)

Salads. Chopped mint adds a touch of sweetness to a salad that is so pleasing, it almost feels like a palate cleanser. It’s a particularly nice contrast to peppery greens like arugula–hot and cool flavors combined–but it’s delicious with any greens. Combine it with fresh basil, dill, and oregano for a combination that will keep surprising you with vivid tastes at every bite.

PeppermintYogurt. My breakfast every morning begins with a container of Chobani nonfat vanilla yogurt. But lately I’ve found a way to improve on what is already a very good thing. I take six or so mint leaves, chop them finely, and mix them in. While I brew the coffee and wash the blueberries, I let the mixture sit a few minutes to marry the flavors.

Mint-marinated shrimp with tabbouleh, tomatoes, and feta

Mint-marinated shrimp–what a concept

Tabbouleh. This novel recipe from Epicurious–Mint-marinated shrimp with tabbouleh, tomatoes, and feta–is a killer. My husband has declared that we can serve it whenever we have guests, because it’s just that good. (My own tweaks: Substitute quinoa for bulgur; it will cook faster and provide more protein. I also use more arugula than the recipe calls for, so it’s even healthier.)

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