Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves are funny things. Straight off the tree, they’re lovely and aromatic. Throw them into a beef casserole and Ragù and they disappear. But the weird thing is that even if they don’t have the up-front taste of dried, powdered cumin, or fresh coriander, you’d miss them if they were gone.

Essential recipes that use bay leaves are:

Beef stew. This is the jamie Oliver version and you can’t go far wrong with it. By all means add parsnips, swedes, turnips, more tomatoes, beer, some paprika. Very hard to mess this up.

Bolognese sauce. Another Jamie recipe that’s hard to get wrong. I like to add green pepper. I like the astringency. It’s just as good the day after, if not better.

The BBC would have us try sole wrapped in prosciutto with bay leaf sauce.I’m not convinced how that would work out.

As an alternative, a bay seasoning to leek and potato soup. That’s more normal.

In the Guardian Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a few ideas. These involve mackerel, lentils and burnt cream. Two out of three isn’t bad.

Great British Chefs hasn’t got anything featuring bay. Likewise Delia Smith.

Again, the BBC recommends bay-infused olive oil. I like that. Might give it a stab next time the tree gets trimmed.

So there you have it. Very little that features bay, but lots of recipes that include it.