Thyme is a fragrant, small-leafed, woody-stemmed culinary herb that is used frequently in Mediterranean, Italian and Provençal French cuisines. It pairs well with lamb and tomatoes, and is often used in soups, stews, stocks and sauces.
Lemon thyme is highly aromatic and the lemon flavour goes well with chicken and fish dishes.
Whole sprigs of fresh thyme may be used when roasting meats and poultry or vegetables, but because of their tough, woody stems, the sprigs should be removed before serving.
The tiny leaves are easily removed from the stems by pulling the stems through your fingers from top to bottom, against the direction of the stems. Six average sprigs will yield about a tablespoon of leaves.
If just the leaves are used, they can be given a quick chop or simply added to the recipe whole. The leaves may also be lightly crushed before adding them, which releases the volatile, flavourful oils.
Other herbs with which thyme can be successfully combined include rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano and bay leaf.