Spearmint in a Starring Role

Spearmint is the “default mint,” according to Pei, who puts the versatile herb to work in mixed drinks, salads, spring rolls, and as a garnish for dessert. Pei also uses spearmint to flavor iced tea: Throw a couple of big handfuls into freshly brewed black tea, then remove after 5 or 10 minutes so it doesn’t go bitter.

carswell suggests using it instead of vanilla to flavor crème anglaise and crème brûlée. karykat makes mint syrup to pour over fresh fruit for dessert: Heat about 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water so the sugar dissolves, then take it off the heat and throw in a handful of chopped mint leaves. Let it steep and then strain (or don’t) and pour over fruit such as strawberries, peaches, or nectarines.

pemma and thew both make mint pesto as you would basil pesto; it can be used the same way, too, and it also works well with lamb dishes.

Magnificat2005 sautés zucchini and summer squash in butter. Just as they’re done, he spritzes on some lemon juice and adds a handful of finely chopped mint, then turns the heat off and mixes in about a tablespoon of honey.

Caroline1 makes a classic fresh mint sauce to serve with roasted or broiled lamb: Mince lots of spearmint fairly fine and mix it with malt or cider vinegar and a little sugar (not too much sugar, she says, but it does underscore the mint flavor when it’s subtle).

Board Link: Uses for spearmint

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