There are a number of different tips for cooking with thyme that will aid the cook in getting the most flavor from this spice. An important consideration is choosing the type of thyme that will be used in the dish you are preparing, as there are two popular types of thyme, both bringing distinctly different flavors. A second very important factor to take into consideration when cooking with thyme is whether you will be using the spice in a dried or fresh form.
When choosing to add the spice to a dish, it is best to know the difference between the two types of thyme most commonly found in groceries and markets. There is lemon thyme, which, as its name implies, has a lemony zest that it brings to whatever it is added to. Lemon thyme is especially good when used to flavor chicken and fish dishes. The second popular type of the spice is called common thyme. Common thyme has a strong scent and lends itself well to bringing zest to stews and stocks.
A good tip for cooking with thyme is to add it at the end of the cooking process. This allows for the maximum flavor to be absorbed into the food. It is important to take into consideration that as thyme cooks it tends to loose its flavor.
When cooking with thyme a whole sprig of the herb may be added. Once the full flavor has been incorporated into the food, it is best to remove the sprig before serving the dish, as no one wants to eat the branchlike part of the sprig. Oftentimes, the leaves will fall off the sprig during the cooking process. If this is something you do not want to have happen, wrap the thyme and any others herbs you may be adding to the dish in cheese clothe and tie off the top to create a small bundle which can be easily added and then removed when the cooking process is finished.
Fresh thyme is much stronger in taste and fragrance than dried thyme. It is important to keep this in mind when adding the spice to a recipe. When cooking with fresh thyme it is best to use approximately half of what you would use if you were cooking with dried thyme.
Cooking with thyme lends a savory flavor to any dish. It can be combined with a variety of other spices to create a tasty blend of flavors. Some of the spices that thyme combines well with are rosemary and oregano. Many Mediterranean recipes lend themselves to the addition of thyme.