Mediterranean Oregano is the dried leaf of Origanum vulgare L., a perennial herb in the mint family. Mexican Oregano is the dried leaf of one of several plants of the Lippia genus.
Oregano is grown in Turkey and Greece. Mexican oregano is grown in Mexico and the southwestern United States.
Traditional Ethnic Uses
Oregano is the spice that gives pizza its characteristic flavor. It is also usually used in chili powder.
Taste and Aroma Description
Oregano has a pungent odor and flavor. Mexican Oregano is a bit stronger than Mediterranean Oregano.
History/Region of Origin
Mediterranean Oregano was originally grown extensively in Greece and Italy. Since Greek and Roman times it has been used with meats, fish, vegetables, and as a flavoring for wine. Before World War II, Oregano was almost unknown in the United States. However, its popularity sky-rocketed with the popularity of pizza.
A Few Ideas to Get You Started
Oregano tastes great with tomato, egg, or cheese based foods, and is also a great addition to many lamb, pork, and beef main dishes. Try sauteeing aromatic vegetables in olive oil with garlic and Oregano. You can make a savory sauce with melted butter, lemon juice and a bit of Oregano; drizzle it over grilled fish and poultry. An easy way to accent pasta sauces, salad dressings, and ground meat dishes is with a dusting of crushed Oregano leaves. To release its flavor, crush Oregano by hand or with a mortar and pestle before using it in your recipes.