In Italian we use the same word to refer to thyme, the beloved herb, and to thymus, the lymphoid organ located behind the sternum. I will devote the rest of the post to timo, the herb.
The genus Thymus, family Labiatae, contains many species. I planted two of them in my little herb garden: Lemon Thyme (photo on the left), and German (Winter) Thyme (photo on the right). I also have some Silver Thyme in a big pot in front of the house: its leaves have a silver rim. I love thyme and I use its tiny fragrant leaves often. They are precious little things, with an enormous power to impart flavor. I don't recall my mother ever using thyme in her cooking, so this herb is a relatively new discovery for me.
For this post, I decided to invent something. Last Wednesday evening, I was by myself for dinner, a rather unusual occurrence. Besides foglie di timo (thyme leaves), I wanted to eat a beautiful porro (leek) leftover from a recent purchase at the farmers' market, and here is what I did. I washed the leek, white and light green part, following Lucy's method, then sliced it. In the meantime, I warmed up a small frying pan generously sprayed with olive oil. I added the leek slices and the leaves of two sprigs of thyme, then cooked, over medium-low heat, until the leek was soft to my liking, stirring every now and then to avoid sticking. I added some vegetable broth to keep the leek moist1.
When the leek was ready, I adjusted the salt and sprinkled a few leaves of maggiorana (marjoram), an herb I like a lot as well, which is conveniently planted next to my lemon thyme. While the leek was cooking, I poached an egg, following the instructions on this page (option: No poacher). Poached egg is uovo in camicia (shirt). A few seconds before the egg was ready, I spooned the leek in a bowl, then gently placed the poached egg over the prepared pale green bed and finished off the dish with a tablespoon of parmigiano, freshly grated. I took a quick photo and then enjoyed my creation, especially the bites that got some of the yolk mixed with the leek. I definitely will make this again. Note that I did not use any salt (besides that in the water for poaching the egg), but you can certainly do it, adding it to the leek when it is cooked.
1 Addendum: I have since made the dish a couple more times and measured a quarter cup of added liquid, 2 tablespoons broth, 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon white wine.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, a food blogging event started over two years ago by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook, and a very kind cook, too. Susan has announced that she will give away a copy of Aliza Green’s "Field Guide to Herbs and Spices" to one of the participants. Thanks Susan! Here is the roundup of WHB #129.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the timo audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]