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!
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.
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.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is renown for anti-inflammatory, antioxidant anti-bacterial properties. As herbal infusion it can aid digestion and anxiety.
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.
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.
Australian by birth, Lyn moved to Italy 30 years ago after studying Italian Language and Literature at university. Over the years, she travelled extensively throughout Italy and marvelled at the marked culinary differences between regions. She soon fell into that wonderful Italian habit of talking about food and swapping recipes with friends, relatives, neighbours and shop owners. Having worked in an international organization promoting agricultural biodiversity for better livelihoods, she is very interested in access to local, organic, seasonal produce and promoting in a small way, a better global food system. She loves foraging and has recently discovered capers growing out of the Roman walls. She is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador.