Do you know what gives Italian pizza its distinct flavor? Oregano is an herb that is typically used in marinara sauce, spaghetti with meatballs, and many other Italian or Italian-American favorites.
However, not a lot of home cooks know all about it. This is why they ask, what does oregano taste like?
Oregano is known for its hearty flavor, unfortunately, a lot of herbs can be classified as oregano. Also, there are other spices that can sometimes be confused with oregano simply because oregano is also known as wild marjoram or pot marjoram.
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Marjoram can have qualities like oregano, but true oregano is not mild and refined like marjoram. It can actually pack a punch in terms of flavor and it does not shy away from your taste buds. Belonging to the mint family, you can buy Greek or Mexican oregano. It is however typically available in dried form.
Knowing what oregano tastes like is actually very important simply because knowing when to use it can take your dish, your cooking, and even your taste buds to a whole new level. This herb is a must-have for die-hard pizza and pasta fanatics, and it is also to-die- for when paired with cheese and salad of greens.
Oregano is widely known as the pizza herb and it gained a lot of popularity after World War 2 when soldiers came home bringing something that can make pizzas taste even better. But more than just for pizzas, oregano is a powerhouse especially when it comes to cooking savory dishes.
Although it cannot be commonly used for desserts, its taste and flavor is quite important especially in many western cuisines. To the surprise of many, experts say that when it comes to getting the full flavor of oregano, you should always opt for dried oregano rather than fresh ones.
There are also a lot of Oregano types. Greek oregano has a more pronounced flavor than most European oregano, and Mexican oregano also has a flavor that is much stronger than the rest. Oregano is actually considered a staple herb in many soups, vegetable dishes, comfort foods, and even in scrambled eggs.
Oregano is known in Greek as the “delight of the mountains”. It basically has a sweet, bitter taste that has quite a straight forward peppery bite. Oregano paired with garlic is actually quite pleasant to taste, and its strong flavor makes it a great ingredient to add in dishes like Mexican chilies and rich stews.
Oregano also imparts a warm flavor that can withstand oily dishes. This is why it can be easily paired up with olive oil, fish, and meats. Oregano can also be used when cooking with vinegar, or with citrus fruits as its robust flavor can still stand out even when strong ingredients are found in your dish.
This herb can be used in casseroles to impart subtle flavors, it can be used to enhance the taste of minced meats, and it can even be used to get rid of the gamey taste that some type of meats innately have. This is why oregano is considered a very important culinary herb.
When using oregano to flavor dishes, it is recommended that you use a light hand. This is because oregano can easily overpower the freshness of ingredients like vegetables or fruits, and because it can add a lot of woody, bitter taste that can easily overpower or completely alter your dish.
The taste of oregano is quite unique simply because it has the effect of making your food taste more hearty, and warm. It has a little bitter and sweet flavors, and at the same time, it also gives you a peppery zing that makes a lot of salads and savory dishes taste so much better.
If you have never tried this herb before, I highly suggest that you avoid cooking with it right away, and focus on trying it on a pizza first. You can sprinkle it on a slice so you can appreciate the full flavor of the herb and so that you can experience first hand, the level of warmth that it can provide on your tongue.
Oregano should be an herb that is on top of your list of ingredients especially when you plan on making a savory dish, or Greek, Mexican, American, and of course, Italian foods. Just keep in mind to use it sparingly, and to give it ample respect and consideration so that it can complement your food nicely.
If you want to share your first experience with Oregano, or if you want to share your ideas on how to use this herb, give us your thoughts at the comments section below.
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