Thyme, which is often seen blooming in gardens, should never be underestimated for its flexibility and the scent and tastes it adds to dishes. This essay delves further into this old and tasty plant, considering not only how it was utilized in ancient times, but also how some of these historical applications are today validated by scientific and medical authorities.
While thyme may be used in a variety of meals, I’ve opted to present a simple recipe for a Mediterranean-inspired baked fish that employs items that most of us have on hand.
- Benefits of Thyme in The Diet
- Using Thyme in Recipes
- Sourcing and Storing Fresh Thyme
- Preparing Fresh Thyme for Cooking
- What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
- Step by Step Instructions
Benefits of Thyme in The Diet
There are around 300 distinct types of thyme, many of which are better suited to growing as ground cover than than eating. The most common kinds used in cooking in the United States are common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), wild thyme (Thymus serpillum), citrus or lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus), and caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona).
Ancient tribes in and around the Mediterranean region employed thyme in dishes, brews, incense, and as a medicinal plant. Thyme was also employed in embalming by the Ancient Egyptians.
Thyme was thought to symbolize power and valor, and Roman soldiers would swap thyme and even pin it to their garments before heading into war. Thyme was supposed to help defend against Black Death infection throughout the Middle Ages, and it was used to cure skin sores that occurred when individuals were ill. Thyme’s ability to defend against illness is perhaps why it has been employed in food preservation procedures for ages.
Thyme has antimicrobial properties since it includes thymol. Thymol is a natural biocide capable of killing bacteria and other pathogenic microbes. In reality, thymol is often used in insecticides for animal pests.
Some studies believe that thymol may be effective in lowering bacterial resistance to medications like penicillin, and thymol, combined with two other natural biocides, can kill tiger mosquito larvae. Tiger mosquitos transmit illnesses including dengue fever, yellow fever, and West Nile virus.
Thymol has also been proven to destroy Candida albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infections or thrush, and as an essential oil, thyme is beneficial against some foodborne bacteria such as Escherichia and Enterococcus bacteria.
Thyme may help reduce symptoms of the common cold, upper respiratory tract infections, and bronchitis when taken orally, alone or in combination with other herbs.
Thyme is probably safe to eat, however those with bleeding issues should avoid eating a lot of it since it slows blood coagulation. It is also advised that persons suffering from hormone-sensitive illnesses such as uterine fibroids, breast cancer, or ovarian cancer avoid drinking thyme since it might mimic estrogen in the body.
Using Thyme in Recipes
Thyme is a common herb in many Mediterranean recipes for roasted and grilled fish and meats, as well as stews, marinades, stocks, and soups (typically with rosemary and sage). Thyme also complements veggies like peppers and roasted potatoes.
Thyme is widely utilized in French and British cuisines, as well as foods from Central and South America and Africa.
Using lemon thyme in cooking will produce greater citrus overtones. Thyme is found in herb blends such as herbes de Provence and bouquet garni, and it has a concentrated herby flavor with notes of wood, grass, and floral, similar to rosemary. If you utilize citrus fruits,
Fresh thyme should always be introduced early in the cooking process to enable the oils and taste of the thyme to be released correctly.
Sourcing and Storing Fresh Thyme
You may be possible to cultivate thyme in your garden if it is available fresh or dried in food shops. It also grows nicely in pots inside. Look for lots of bright green leaves on long stems with several sprigs when buying fresh thyme.
Fresh thyme may be wrapped in a moist paper towel and kept in the refrigerator in a Ziplock bag or similar container. It normally lasts around two weeks, or until the leaves turn brown. If you remove the leaves from the stem, they should keep for about three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
There is minimal taste difference between fresh and dried thyme, but when using dried thyme, be prepared to use about a third more dried thyme than you would fresh thyme. Dried thyme should be allowed to rehydrate in the pan or mix before using, or it may be rehydrated in a little warm water.
Preparing Fresh Thyme for Cooking
Many recipes that call for thyme will call for it in sprigs. A sprig is perhaps best described as a length of stem with a number of side branches. Whole sprigs may be used throughout cooking and then removed before serving or eating, like in the recipe below.
Remove the leaves from the stem if you wish to leave the thyme in the dish to consume.
Since thyme has a woody stem, it is simpler to remove the leaves. Just squeeze the top of a washed sprig between your forefinger and thumb and move your other hand’s fingers down the stem to cause the leaves to break off from the stem.
Pro Tip: If the thyme stems break readily, these weaker stems may be chopped up and put to the pan with the thyme leaves.
Since thyme leaves are little, you won’t need to slice them much smaller; just use the entire leaves.
If you wish to bake with fresh thyme (for example, bread), always separate the leaves from the stem and cut if required. Dried thyme may also be used in baking for convenience.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
In this lesson, I show you how to make a Mediterranean-inspired quick baked fish dish with thyme and lemon. This dish may be prepared with any white fish. This dish will serve two people and requires little preparation time and around an hour to prepare.
Kitchen Tools Needed for Baked Fish with Thyme and Lemon
- frying pan Whatever pan you prefer for oven baking, and one that is large enough to hold the fish in a single layer.
- Foil made of aluminum If your roasting pan does not have a cover, you will also need foil to cover it while it cooks.
- When needed, use oven mitts or a potholder.
- onion. the paring knife Peeling the potatoes Peeler for vegetables
- a chef’s knife Any knife you want for chopping veggies with.
- chopping board To keep the countertop safe.
- Garlic chopper If you don’t have a mincer, just smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife and your hand’s heel.
- For measuring olive oil, use a tablespoon.
Ingredients for Baked Fish with Thyme and Lemon
- 3 potatoes that can be used for anything.
- 3 tomatoes, medium ripe It’s also OK to add some older tomatoes that are beyond their prime in this recipe.
- 1 medium yellow onion.
- 2 to 3 minced garlic gloves, depending on the size of the cloves and your desire.
- In addition to using fresh thyme, you may wish to add some fresh rosemary to this recipe.
- 1 lemon You’ll need a slice of lemon to squeeze into the dish and the rest to serve the fish with.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil for roasting.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- White fish, whatever white fish is available. For this dish, I use around 8 oz (uncooked) of gutted and fileted white fish for two people.
If you want to serve this as a main course without any sides, allow 6 oz of white fish per person.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Prepare potatoes
Wash and peel the potatoes before cutting them into third-inch slices. Set aside on one side of the cutting board.
Step 2: Prepare onion
Peel and finely slice the onion and arrange it on one side of the potatoes.
Step 3: Prepare tomatoes
Wash, core, and slice the tomatoes into quarter-inch thick slices. Put the potatoes and onions on one side.
Pro Tip: Instead of fresh tomatoes, you may create this dish or variants of this recipe using canned chopped tomatoes. This will give the meal a deeper tomato finish.
Step 4: Layer vegetables
Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat the bottom of a roasting pan with two teaspoons of olive oil.
Place about half of the prepared potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Next, add a single layer of tomatoes, followed by onions. This, like the potatoes, should use around half of your prepped tomatoes and onions.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add another single layer of potatoes, tomatoes, and onions to the roasting pan.
While I normally prepare a roasting pan in the oven before adding vegetables, I layer the veggies on a cold dish for this recipe. Instead, you must layer with a fork, and even then, there is a chance of catching your hand on the hot pan.
Step 5: Add the garlic, thyme and lemon
Spread the garlic on top of the veggies. Wash the lemon, cut it in half, and squeeze half of it over the veggies. Put this lemon half aside in case you need it later.
Lastly, rinse the thyme and sprinkle three or four sprigs on top of the veggies, along with some black pepper (and salt, if desired).
Drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.
Cover the roasting pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the roasting pan for 45 minutes.
Dispose of the cutting board and equipment.
After 30 minutes, check the potatoes. If you’ve sliced them somewhat thicker (as I do) for a more al-dente finish, check them at 35 minutes but plan on a further 10 minutes cooking time.
Step 6: Prepare fish
If the fish is entire, gut and filet it. If you like, you may prepare this recipe using entire fileted fish, changing the cooking time accordingly. Personally, I like it with filets.
If using pre-fileted fish, rinse the filets under cold running water a few minutes before the vegetable cooking time is up. Season each filet with salt and black pepper to taste. Lastly, using the lemon half from Step 5, squeeze some lemon juice on them.
Step 7: Add fish
Remove the roasting pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F.
Remove the veggies from the oven. The potato layer at the bottom of the dish will most likely be cooked, while the second layer will be somewhat harder. Do not be alarmed; they still have around ten minutes of cooking time at a higher temperature.
Arrange the veggies on top of the fish. Replace the roasting pan in the oven, covered with its lid or aluminum foil.
Bake for about ten minutes, or until the fish is done, being cautious not to overcook.
Pro Tip: When you cook fish, it turns opaque and flaky. To see whether the fish is done, insert a fork at a 45-degree angle into the thickest section of the filet, twist it, and slowly draw some of the fish back up. Fish that has not been cooked will not flake.
Step 8: Serve
If you can readily remove the thyme sprigs before serving, do do; otherwise, remove while serving. Serve immediately with the remaining sprigs on top of the fish and a slice of lemon. Serve on its own or with a fresh green salad and some crusty bread.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about thyme and will take the time (or should that be thyme?) to try out my step-by-step recipe for baked fish with thyme and lemon.
While thyme works well with many cuisines, I find it particularly good with fish preparations.
Please leave any comments in the space below, and please share this page with your friends.
Does thyme go good on fish?
Thyme. Thyme pairs well with fish and shellfish. Apply the thyme sparingly. The taste grows more stronger as it cooks.
Can you bake with fresh thyme?
Fresh thyme may be used to a recipe whole, or the leaves can be separated off the stem and sprinkled on top. Whenever a recipe asks for a “sprig” of thyme, keep the leaves and stem whole.
When cooking with fresh thyme do you use the stems?
Thyme stems are edible but often too woody to enjoy. The leaves are what you want, but keeping them connected to the stem saves prep time. After cooking, just remove and discard the stem and any attached leaves.
Is rosemary or thyme better for fish?
Thyme. Thyme is a wonderful replacement for rosemary since it has a milder flavor. Nonetheless, use thyme sparingly; the longer it cooks, the stronger the flavors become. Grill a whole fish with lemon for a tasty and healthful supper.
Do you wash thyme before cooking?
When you go to the garden or farmers market to include those delectable herbs into your next recipe, always wash your fresh herbs before cooking with them. No matter what sort of product you’re going to consume, such as herbs or fruit, you should always thoroughly wash it before eating it.
What is the easiest way to prep thyme?
Wash the sprig, then use it whole or pluck the leaves and discard the stem. Hold a stalk at the top and then firmly rub the thumb and fingers of your other hand down the stalk from top to bottom – the leaves should fall off as you go.
What flavor does fresh thyme give?
Thyme is a plant with a particular identity that doesn’t knock you over the head with it. It has a delectable taste balance that alternates between earthy and minty, minty and citrus-laced, savory but also sweet, and somewhat woodsy but also floral, with hints of lavender or a toned-down rosemary.
How is thyme used in baking?
Thyme: How to Use It. Thyme is used to create flavor levels without becoming overpowering. It is often used to flavor soups, sauces, and braises. It’s also delicious with potatoes, rice dishes, veggies, and even fresh bread.