Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pernod Gets the Nod

So, this month I have dedicated to the spice star anise. First on my list dedicated to this amazing spice is Pernod (Aux Plantes D'Absinthe Superieure) pronounced pear'no. This exquisite liqueur is not only for drinking but can be combined with many dishes and recipes. 

What is Pernod you ask? Pernod is a brand named French liqueur often referred to as a pastis. So then what the hell is a pastis? Pastis is an anise flavored liqueur aperitif with a very very high alcohol content 40-45%. When absinthe was banned in France back in 1915 Pernod reformulated their drink to omit the banned wormwood component, focusing on a heavier anise flavoring. However, in 2007 absinthe became legal in many countries and the Pernod recipe changed once again to include wormwood but kept in place the heavier anise. 

The leading characteristics of Pernod is its licorice and herb flavors. It has relatives in Greece with ouzo, Italy with sambuca and Spain with ojen. Pernod is much lighter/airy and less thick and syrupy as its cousins. Another interesting characteristic of Pernod is its ability to louche or turn from a green to a cloudy milk color when cold water is added. 

Aside from drinking Pernod enhances vegetables dishes like braised fennel, celery or carrots, baked cabage or onions and sauces served over asparagus or broccoli. For a refreshing salad dressing add a tablespoon to some oil and vinegar. Or combine lime juice with sugar and Pernod and drizzle over fruit salad. Also, substitute it in recipes that call for wine like meat and poultry dishes. And one of my favorites is to add a splash of it over my vanilla ice-cream...yum. As to not overpower the dishes add Pernod at the end of cooking, since the alcohol can be quite strong.