Welcome back to The Herb Garden series. Today we tell you a little about a favorite herb: oregano. This hardy herb will grow in the most arid of conditions. I’ve seen it growing in little clumps on seaside cliffs, amongst the rocks up a remote mountain and of course in my own little getaway in Sabina where the only watering it gets is that which nature provides!

The Herb Garden: Oregano – www.italyfoodandwinetours.com

Oregano’s name derives from the Greek “oros” meaning joy and “ganos” meaning mountain and it truly joy of the mountain when you discover this wild, resilient and very fragrant herb up a remote hill

Oregano rose to international fame after World War II for its use in tomato sauces on pizzas and in pasta sauces.

History

Native to the Mediterranean area, you will find this resilient, aromatic shrub growing throughout Greece, Italy, Spain and it is commonly used in the traditional dishes of these countries.

Medicinal Use

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is renown for anti-inflammatory, antioxidant anti-bacterial properties. As herbal infusion it can aid digestion and anxiety.

Culinary Use

Tomato is oregano’s partner in crime and the two go together like birds of a feather in tasty Napoli pizza toppings, pasta sauces and the famous pizzaiola sauce with veal or fish. Flavour your olive oil in a pan with some garlic, add some passata or fresh tomatoes, dried oregano and season to taste, turn up the heat and then add your thin scaloppine (slices of veal) and cook the meat in the sauce. So simple and so delicious: you will want to mop up the pan sauce with crusty bread.

The Herb Garden: Oregano – www.italyfoodandwinetours.com

Another simple treat is to halve a large tomato, season with salt and pepper, scatter with fresh or dry oregano and drizzle with some good, olive oil.

The difference between fresh and dried oregano should be mentioned. Fresh oregano has a green, almost minty, floral, aroma whereas the flavour becomes more pronounced as it is dried.