One of my favorite dried herbs or spices to use. I absolutely love the smell and flavor. In fact, most of all of my favorite food memories use Oregano. We used oregano in our pasta sauces, meatballs, carne beef, and the meat filling for our empanadillas and pasteles. I remember loving to watch my mother cook. She would pour the dried oregano into the palms of her hands and crumble them finer by rubbing her hands together to “release the flavor”…letting the dried herbs fall into the pot. When she was done, she would lean over the pot to take in the aroma. Justly thinking about it makes me hungry and home-sick for her cooking…
Check out the recipes below that highlight Oregano. The first recipe is a traditional Italian shrimp recipe from one of my favorite “go to” Italian cook books. The rest of the recipes are my creative take on unique uses of Oregano in desserts and cocktails. The combinations are unexpected but they unleash new ways to use a dried herb that some people consider to be cliché.
Next time you are cooking or baking, consider using oregano in a new way…you might be surprised…
P.S. Love Ya Mom! Thanks for always being a constant inspiration…
Oregano is commonly used in Mediterranean and Latin American recipes. Oregano’s name means “joy of the mountains” because it was traditionally grown and harvested on the Mediterranean mountainsides. It was not widely used in the United States until the WWII soldiers brought Oregano home from Italy.
Oregano is very aromatic with a bitter, peppery edge flavor. Like most dried herbs and spices, Oregano should be stored away from sunlight and has a shelf life of about 6 months.
While, many use it for pizza, it very good with beans, poultry, lamb, fish, tomato and vegetable dishes.
Traditional Recipe – Black Pepper Shrimp Oreganata
1 pound large Shrimp in their shells
2 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon Black Pepper
1 cup Dry White Wine
- Rinse shrimp under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- In a nonreactive large frying pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic, oregano, pepper and shrimp.
- Cook, tossing 30 seconds.
- Add white wine and cook 2-3 minutes (or until shrimp turns pink).
- Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Source: 365 Easy Italian Recipes by Rick Marzullo O’Connell
Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Saffron Frosted Orange Oregano Cupcakes
1 box Orange Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1-1/3 cups Milk
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
3 large Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray mini-bundt cake pans with cooking spray.
- Add cake mix, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, cinnamon, oregano and almond extract to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix on low for 30 seconds.
- Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
- Fill each mini-bundt halfway. Smooth tops with a spoon.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).
- Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
- When cool, dust the mini-bundt cakes with powdered sugar.
- Dollop with Saffron Buttercream Frosting (see recipe listed below)
- Decorate with candies or fresh oregano.
Gypsy World Spice Cafe Recipe – Saffron Buttercream Frosting
3-3/4 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Steep saffron in lukewarm milk for 5 minute then remove saffron.
- In a medium bowl, combine confectioners sugar, butter, saffron infused milk with a mixer.
- Beat for 1-2 minutes until very creamy. ( Add more milk if it consistency is too thick).
Oregano Infused Vodka
1 pint-sized mason jar, clean and dry
Fresh Oregano, washed and patted dry
- Fill jar halfway (loosely) with fresh oregano.
- Fill jar with vodka.
- Put the lid on the jar and place in a dark location (or refrigerator) for at least 3 days.
- After 3 days, remove oregano.
Oregano Infused Bloody Mary
1-1/2 oz. Oregano Infused Vodka
3 oz. Tomato Juice
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Black Pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
- Shake softly.
- Strain into highball glass. Garnish with celery and fresh oregano.
Oregano Vodka Pink Spritzer
1-1/2 oz Oregano Infused Vodka
1/2 teaspoon Grenadine
- Fill a highball glass halfway with ice.
- Add oregano infused vodka.
- Fill remainder of glass with Fresca.
- Stir in grenadine.
- Garnish with fresh oregano or a maraschino cherry.