Getting Fresh

fresh bay leaves

I honestly thought you had to live out west to get fresh bay leaves, so imagine my surprise when I saw them at our farmers’ market on Saturday. I grabbed some, of course, and then began thinking of ways to use them.

bay, butter, cream

A few went into my Sunday ragu, of course, but the idea that kept popping into my head was to simmer them gently in cream. So that’s just what I did last night.


Melted butter, cream, a sprinkle of salt, and the bay leaves cooked together gently while I boiled a pot of water for pasta. I plucked out the leaves after dropping the pasta, then added a bit of grated cheese and let the sauce thicken. My just-cooked noodles got a bath in the bay-infused sauce, then I topped them with a scattering of roasted oyster mushrooms.

Dinner:  December 2, 2009

Not a bad dish, but I have bigger plans for this combination of flavors.

11 thoughts on “Getting Fresh

  1. Christine says:

    I had a panna cotta in which the cream had been infused with bay and vanilla. A citrus sauce – blood orange, I think, so nice and tangy- was a great counterpoint to the rich creaminess, but also echo the rusky flavor of the bay.

  2. Mmmmm. Yum. I also remember seeing a rice pudding or tapioca recipe somewhere (Wednesday Chef?) that had bay in it. Bet fresh leaves would be AWESOME that way.

  3. Lovely, Jen.

    I love fresh bay.

    One of my favourite potato thangs is to peel a medium potato, and almost-slice through it in 4 or 5 places, sticking a bay leaf sideways into each slices. Once you’ve done as many taters as you need, dribble with walnut oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for almost an hour till brown. Dee-licious. Great with lamb.

    I call them hedgehogs, btw 🙂

  4. If you want to try something amazing (and probably make Mr. Dietsch very happy) find out how they make the deep fried bay leaves at Casa Mono. You just eat the batter off the leaves, kind of like eating edamame. Closest thing I can think of when I have them is like a perfect bay flavored doughnut.

  5. I love having a bay tree – I can go out in my bathrobe to pick leaves when I’m making soup. I always put fresh leaves in my bechamel sauce, much like your lovely cream sauce here. I also stuff lots of them under the skin when I roast a chicken.

  6. Jennifer, i am rendered speechless, honestly, that photo is absolutely fantastic. can one read a post if one is only staring at photos? splendid. x

  7. I have never had a fresh bay leaf, but your post inspired me to search Union Square green market today to see if there were any around. No luck, but I am going to keep a lookout, or just plant my own in the spring.

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