Guest Writer: Lucy Wyndham
One of the most satisfying things about growing herbs is that generally, they grow quickly. In the summer months, you can plant some seeds and look forward to eating your harvest a month later. In Italy, where they pride themselves on fresh food, 61% of people grow their own herbs to eat - wouldn’t it be lovely to do the same in your home too? You don’t need a lot of space to grow herbs, a few pots on a windowsill will suffice. If you have caught your own fish, there are a variety of herbs that will perfectly compliment your meal.
Delicious dill and salmon
Dill is a classic herb that goes well with freshly caught river salmon. Plant your seeds directly into the soil in early June, give them plenty of water and you will be reaping the rewards by mid-July. Dill doesn’t like being transplanted, so try not to move your plants once they have established themselves. When you are taking dill to use in your cooking, remove the shoots from the side of the plant, and it will encourage new growth.
Chinese cilantro and bream
Cilantro is a tangy herb that goes well with bream if you cook it in an Asian style. May is the ideal time to sow individual seeds into pots and put them on a sunny windowsill, or in a greenhouse. You can then plant these out in early July if the weather is good enough. Once the plants have bolted, the leaves can be quite bitter to taste, so pick them nice and early. When your cilantro plants have gone to seed, you can also use the fresh seeds in your cooking - they have a delicious zingy taste.
Beautiful basil and perch
Perch is an Italian favorite, particularly in the Northern regions of the country. It goes well with basil, either on its own or in the form of a tasty pesto. Sow basil seeds indoors in spring to get them going, they need the soil to be at least 50 degrees. Basil needs to have at least 6 hours of sunlight every day in order to thrive. You can keep it in pots outside once established, and it will last over summer. Basil sadly won’t survive any frost though - it’s a Mediterranean herb and very partial to warm weather. Make sure that you don’t water basil before picking it, or the taste will be diluted.
Freshly grown herbs will add a real depth of flavor to your cooking. They will elevate the fish that you have caught into a thing of culinary beauty.