Thyme: Little-Explored Herb Comes Into Its Own

Spring Thyme Salmon
Spring Thyme Salmon

HUNT VALLEY, Md. – (March, 2007) – Spring is in the air and it’s time to rejuvenate the flavors of the season with the little-explored herb that’s sprouting up in kitchens everywhere – thyme. Its flavor profile, characterized as minty and green, emulates the spirit of spring, and makes thyme an essential complement to the season’s most popular foods such as seafood, asparagus, new potatoes, mushrooms, baby greens and lemons.

Thyme is a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike, and its popularity is on the rise. Sales of thyme have increased by 24 percent over the last three years.* McCormick, the flavor expert, credits the expanding influence of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisines as one factor contributing to this significant increase. Thyme is a key ingredient in the Middle Eastern spice blend, za’atar, as well as bouquet garni, Herbes de Provence and Jamaican Jerk seasoning. Another reason for thyme’s growing importance is it’s compatibility with foods throughout the entire menu, even fresh fruit and desserts.

Flourishing best in the Mediterranean region, thyme is cultivated in Spain and France. French thyme is considered the highest quality, but limited quantities are available. The thyme plant is a small perennial in the mint family that grows about eighteen inches tall with very small leaves, about ¼-inch long. Thyme’s origin dates back to Ancient Greece where it symbolized courage. Roman soldiers bathed in water infused with thyme to gain vigor, courage and strength. In the Middle Ages, ladies embroidered a sprig of thyme on the scarves of knights for bravery.

Discover the flavor and versatility of thyme this season by creating these simple recipes. Spring Thyme Salmon is enhanced with a delicate marinade that is quick and easy to make. The salmon fillet makes a beautiful presentation served whole with its pink color, flecked with aromatic thyme.

In Chicken with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Thyme, a light cream sauce creates a refreshing herbal flavor perfect for classic spring vegetables. Taste thyme at its best with Creamy Thyme Potato Gratin. Here, layers of potatoes combine with a savory sauce, and are topped with crunchy Parmesan breadcrumbs.

For a twist on the ordinary, try Lemon Thyme Bars. This creation makes a satisfying and sweet dessert with a subtle refreshing aftertaste. The slightly minty flavor of thyme paired with ginger provides a natural highlight to this citrus dessert.

For more ideas on cooking with thyme, visit or call 1-800-MEAL-TIP (1-800-632-5847).

With an extensive network of researchers, trend experts, chefs, home economists, food technologists, and sensory analysts, McCormick & Company, Inc. keeps its finger on the pulse of flavor. McCormick was founded in 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland, and today is the largest spice company in the world. McCormick sources only the finest ingredients from around the globe to bring the highest quality flavors to consumers.

Spring Thyme Salmon Recipe

This salmon fillet makes a beautiful presentation, flecked with thyme leaves, an essential complement to the season’s most popular flavors.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

1/3 cup tangerine or orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon McCormick® Thyme Leaves
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Black Pepper
1 pound salmon fillet

  1. Mix tangerine juice, oil, thyme, mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper in small bowl. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well.
  2. Refrigerate 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
  3. Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information per One Serving: About 202 Calories, Fat 10g, Protein 25g, Carbohydrates 3g, Cholesterol 62mg, Sodium 206mg, Fiber 0g

Chicken with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Thyme

Thyme accents a light cream sauce to create a refreshing herbal flavor perfect for classic spring vegetables.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 teaspoon McCormick® Season-All® Seasoned Salt

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound baby portabella or shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon McCormick® Thyme Leaves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup half-and-half

  1. Sprinkle Season-All Seasoned Salt on both sides of chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet; cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add asparagus, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes.
  3. Mix cornstarch and thyme in small bowl. Stir in broth and wine. Add to skillet; stirring constantly, cook 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in half-and-half. Cook until heated through. Serve over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information per One Serving: About 302 Calories, Fat 14g, Protein 36g, Carbohydrates 8g, Cholesterol 103mg, Sodium 584mg, Fiber 1g

Creamy Thyme Potato Gratin Recipe

Taste thyme at its best in this comforting dish. Layers of potatoes combine with a savory sauce, and are topped with crunchy Parmesan breadcrumbs.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon McCormick® Thyme Leaves
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick® Ground White Pepper
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss potatoes with melted butter, thyme, garlic salt and white pepper in large bowl.
  2. Mix cream cheese and cream until well blended. Layer 1/3 of potato mixture in 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture evenly over potatoes. Repeat layers, ending with potatoes. Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in small bowl. Sprinkle over potatoes. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information per One Serving: About 291 Calories, Fat 19g, Protein 5g,

Carbohydrates 25g, Cholesterol 61mg, Sodium 346mg, Fiber 2g

Lemon Thyme Bars Recipe

This layered bar makes a satisfying and sweet dessert. The buttery, thyme-flavored crust is a perfect foundation for a zesty lemon filling.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes


2 cups flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Thyme Leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. For the crust, mix flour,confectioners’ sugar, thyme and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/3 of crumb mixture (about 1 cup). Pat remaining crumb mixture evenly into greased foil-lined 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven.
  2. For the filling, mix granulated sugar, flour, ginger and baking powder inlarge bowl. Add lemon juice, eggs and lemon peel; whisk until blended. Pour lemon filling over warm baked crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until filling is set and golden. Cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle with Lemon Glaze (recipe follows), if desired. Cut into bars to serve.

Makes 24 servings.

Lemon Glaze: Stir 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 3 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice in small bowl until smooth. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons water if needed for desired consistency. Drizzle over top of dessert. Let stand until glaze is set before cutting into bars.

Nutritional Information per One Serving: About 172 Calories, Fat 8g, Protein 2g
Carbohydrates 23g, Cholesterol 46mg, Sodium 123mg, Fiber 0g

McCormick is a registered trademark of McCormick & Company, Hunt Valley, MD 21031

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