I'm back from our Colorado vacation with something I discovered while out west. I’ve already talked about Persaillotte (click here for some posts)—a heavenly mixture of dried parsley, garlic, and shallot—and so I wanted to mention a new (well, new to me) mixture of dried herbs called Parisian Bonnes Herbes. You might see it spelled “Parisien” too, depending on whether the maker is going for an Anglicized or French-ified character.
As far as I can make out, it looks like two major spice shops that sell these include the Spice House and Penzeys Spices. Despite the fact that there is a Spice House close to me (one in both Evanston and Chicago), I ended up discovering this herb mixture when I happened to stroll into a Penzeys Spices in Boulder’s Pearl Street with my friend Laura.
In a way though, it might have been better that I did find this herb at Penzeys after all. In just about ALL versions of Parisian Bonnes Herbes I came across, essentially the same 5 herbs are used—chives, dill weed, basil, French tarragon, and chervil—along with white pepper. The only difference I can really make out has to do with the quantity of the different dried herbs contained in each spice shop (or in your own homemade version). Some blends use equal parts of all five herbs, whereas there are some versions which use twice as much of one herb as another.
According to their website (click here), the Spice House version is “Hand mixed from: French tarragon, chervil, basil, dill, chives, and ground Muntok white pepper.” Notice how the first two herbs mentioned are French tarragon and chervil? On the other hand, the Penzeys version (click here) is “Hand-mixed from: chives, dill weed, French basil, French tarragon, chervil and white pepper.” In this case, Penzeys seems to bring chives and dill weed to the forefront.
I like tarragon—and I actually have some excellent French tarragon from the Spice House—but I would prefer to have a dried mixture that featured chives more prominently. (Especially since I already have tarragon and can add that anytime I want a slightly different flavor…) And, in fact, it was seeing so many pieces of dried chives in the Bonnes Herbes mixture which convinced me I should get some when I was at Penzeys.
In any case, just about everything I read suggested that this mixture would be good with eggs—as is Persaillotte, Persillade, and Herbes de Provence for that matter. So, I whipped up an extra special eggs salad sandwich using 2 hard-boiled eggs, a generous ¼ teaspoon Parisian Bonnes Herbes (from Penzeys Spice), and 3 T mayonnaise. Really no salt is necessary because mayonnaise tends to be salty enough, and white pepper is already included in the Bonnes Herbes mixture. Since these are dried herbs, I mixed up the egg salad and let it refrigerate for at least ½ hour before eating.
Then take some good bread (mine is a La Brea Torta), shredded lettuce (mine is organic green leaf), tomato (again, organic beefsteak tomato), and cucumber slices (Persian). Then pile on the egg salad mixture, and dig in. Some versions of “special” egg salad will call for fried bacon strips. While I am a huge fan of bacon, I would think bacon would be overkill at this point and will most likely overwhelm the subtle herbs that you want to call attention to. The tarragon plays with tomatoes well as the dill with cucumber and chives with the eggs.
Since I seem to be on a French herb mixture kick, perhaps I will be writing about Herbes de Provence next, or what to do with a bouquet garni, or…