When it comes to French cuisine, one herb blend stands out above the rest: Herbes de Provence, or in English, Herbs de Provence. You’ll find this seasoning blend in pretty much every grocery store in France. That’s how vital it is to French recipes and cooking!
This iconic blend of herbs originated in the Provence region of France and is used extensively in French cooking. With its fragrant blend of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, and savory, Herbs de Provence adds a touch of aromatic flavor to any dish.
Today I’ll do a deep dive into the background of Herbs de Provence seasoning, exploring its history, cultural significance, and how it’s used in traditional French cuisine. From the classic French dish of Ratatouille to roasted chicken and grilled vegetables, Herbs de Provence is a universal and delicious addition to any recipe.
Whether you’re an experienced chef or just starting out, this post will give you everything you need to know about this essential French herb blend!
Herbs de Provence Uses
Herbs de Provence is a classic French herb blend that is used in many traditional dishes from the Provence region of France. Here are some of the main uses for Herbs de Provence in French cooking:
- Seasoning meats: Herbs de Provence can be used to season various types of meats, including chicken, lamb, and beef. Simply rub the herbs onto the meat before cooking for added flavor.
- Enhancing vegetables: The herb blend can also be used to add flavor to roasted or grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers.
- Flavoring soups and stews: Herbs de Provence can be the topping to soups, stews, and broths for a fragrant and flavorful seasoning.
- Pasta topping: You can use a dash of Herbs de Provence to add a burst of flavor to your basic pasta dishes.
- Seasoning seafood: The herb blend can be used to season seafood dishes, such as grilled or baked fish, salmon, scallops, and shrimp.
- Making sauces and marinades: Herbs de Provence can improve sauces and marinades to give them a fragrant and savory flavor.
- Making bread and crackers: The herb blend can be added to bread dough or cracker dough for added flavor.
In general, Herbs de Provence is a versatile herb blend that can be used in just about any of your own savory dishes to add a touch of Provence flavor!
Herbs de Provence Substitute
If you don’t have Herbs de Provence on hand or can’t find it at your local grocery store, there are several alternatives and substitutes you can use in its place. Here are some Herbs de Provence substitutes:
- Italian seasoning: Italian seasoning is a herb blend that typically includes basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. It is a good replacement for Herbs de Provence because it contains some of the same herbs, but with a slightly different flavor profile.
- Thyme and rosemary: If you have thyme and rosemary on hand, you can combine them in equal parts to create a simple Herbs de Provence substitute. This will not have the same complexity of flavor as the full blend, but will still give your dish a nice herbaceous flavor.
- Fines herbes: “Fines herbes” is a French fine herb blend that typically includes chervil, parsley, tarragon, and chives. It is a good alternative for Herbs de Provence if you are looking for a milder herb flavor.
- Dried lavender: Dried lavender is often included in Herbs de Provence blends and can be added to any of the above substitutions to give your dish a touch of Provencal flavor.
Keep in mind that the flavor of Herbs de Provence is unique and cannot be exactly replicated with other herbs, so substitutions may result in a slightly different taste profile. Use your best judgment and adjust the quantities of herbs to your taste preference.
Herbs de Provence vs Italian seasoning
What is the difference between Herbs de Provence vs Italian seasoning? Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning are both herb blends that are typically used in Mediterranean-style cooking, but they have some key differences in their ingredients and flavors.
Herbs de Provence is a blend of herbs that are often used in the cuisine of the Provence region of France. The blend typically includes savory, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, and sometimes also includes lavender flowers. The flavor of Herbs de Provence is typically more floral and slightly sweeter than Italian seasoning, with a more pronounced presence of lavender and thyme.
Italian seasoning, on the other hand, is a blend of herbs that is commonly used in Italian cuisine. The blend typically includes basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. The flavor of Italian seasoning is typically more pungent and earthy, with a stronger presence of oregano and basil.
While there is some overlap in the herbs used in both blends, the proportions and specific herbs used are different, resulting in distinct flavor profiles. Herbs de Provence is more floral and sweeter, while Italian seasoning is more pungent and earthy. It’s important to keep this in mind when using these blends in recipes, as the flavors will have a different impact on the final dish.
Where to Buy Herbs de Provence
You can buy Herbs de Provence at many grocery stores, gourmet food shops, and online retailers in the USA. These can be used to add flavor to your dishes such as meats, vegetables, and soups. Some popular places to buy Herbs de Provence in the USA include:
- Amazon: Amazon offers a variety of Herbs de Provence versions from food brands, and you can easily compare prices and read reviews from other customers.
- Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods offers high-quality Herbs de Provence blends, usually in the spice section of the store.
- Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s offers its own brand of Herbs de Provence blend, and you can find it in the spice section.
- Williams Sonoma: Williams Sonoma offers a variety of high-end Herbs de Provence blends, including organic and artisanal blends.
- Local gourmet food shops: Check your local gourmet food shops, as they may carry an assortment of Herbs de Provence blends from different brands.
Keep in mind that the specific herbs and ratios used in Herbs de Provence blends can vary between brands and producers, so it’s always a good idea to check the label to see what’s included. Make sure that the blend includes a combination of savory, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano.
How to Make Herbs de Provence at Home
Can you make Herbs de Provence at home? Yes! Here’s a simple recipe for making your own Herbs de Provence blend at home:
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried savory
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers (optional)
- In a bowl, combine all the dried herbs and lavender (if using). Stir to mix well.
- Crush the herbs between your fingers to release their oils and aroma.
- Store the Herbs de Provence blend in an airtight container in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
You can adjust the ratios of the herbs to suit your taste, and add other herbs such as basil, fennel, or sage if you like. Homemade Herbs de Provence can be used in many recipes, including roasted chicken, grilled fish, vegetables, soups, and stews. Enjoy!