Spring Herbs and Spring Chicken

Grow spring herbs in a copper planter

By Charlotte Germane for H. Potter

Wouldn’t this copper planter be a pretty sight in your garden? Place it near the kitchen door so no matter what the spring weather brings you can step out and snip some fresh herbs for lunch or dinner.

Early spring crops like parsley and chives satisfy your urge to eat from the garden when the weather is just starting to warm up, and your hopeful thoughts turn to what kinds of tomatoes to grow in the summer.

That’s still a long way off, but if you are in USDA Zones 5-9 you can have the green taste of both these herbs to welcome spring.

Find these herbs in small pots at your garden center:

 Curly parsley (Petroselinum crispum) (Crispum? A Latin name we can all understand!)

• Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Add some blooming daffodils for that extra springy look:

• Yellow trumpet daffodils (Narcissus ‘Dutch Master’)

The combination offers the contrast of shiny copper, curly parsley, smooth chives and silky daffodils. The herbs are excellent companions since they both grow to be a foot tall. The chives will produce lavender flowers—a bonus for garnishes.

Planting

Place the planter in full sun. Fill it with rich potting soil and space the herbs 6 to 9 inches apart. Tuck the daffodils in for the design that you like. Water well after you plant, then supplement the rain as needed, so the soil stays moist.

Harvesting

Feel free to pick parsley as soon as the leaves begin to curl. For strongest flavor, harvest in the morning. Snip the hollow chive leaves as soon as you like. Don’t rob all the leaves or you’ll have unhappy herbs.

Through the seasons

Both herbs transplant well and you can move them out of the planter into other parts of your garden.

The parsley will work in full sun or part-sun until the weather warms up. At that point it will go to seed. Leave the seeds in your garden if you’d like volunteers the following year.

The chives are perennial onions and their bulb-like roots should be divided every few years.

Now that you have a cheery planter full of herbs, read on for cooking ideas.

Spring Chicken

By Patti Bess for H. Potter

Weather is not the only thing turning milder this time of year. As tender spring vegetables and herbs mature in my garden and begin to appear in markets; winter cravings for bold, spicy dishes gives way to quieter longings.

Spring produce begs for simpler, more delicate preparations—that’s where chicken comes in. Topped with chive and parsley pesto, this simple-to-prepare entrée is perfect for guests or a quiet evening at home.

Parsley and chives in the kitchen garden are as much a welcome call to spring as daffodils in the flower beds. I especially like having parsley in the garden as it is so convenient to pick a few sprigs for a dish instead of running to the market for a bunch that will mostly migrate to the rear of refrigerator and be forgotten.

Basil pesto is a staple on the summer menu, but it can be made with other herbs as well. This spritely flavored parsley and chive pesto adds a little zing to your chicken. Pair it with an herbaceous white wine and roasted asparagus or a beet and fennel salad.

These simple gifts from the garden (and at the dinner table) make me shout, “Ain’t life grand?”

Chicken Breasts with Parsley Chive Pesto

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives or green onions
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or broth
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Generously salt and pepper the chicken. Brown it in a fry pan on medium heat, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from stove and set aside.

Add all remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to blend but not completely puree. Add a dollop on each chicken breast, cover, and simmer on low until chicken is moist and tender. Serves 3 and can easily be doubled for guests.

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