Sabzi khordan

Lucy Malouf
Sunday 27 February 2011 01:00

This is almost not a recipe but rather a list of popular herbs that feature regularly on the Persian table. I've included two of the more unusual ones – costmary and savory – for those who are keen gardeners, as it's simple enough to grow them for yourself.

The idea is to choose four or five herbs that you fancy and toss them together on a serving platter or in a basket. You'll need about a cup of herbs per person to be really Iranian – and you will be surprised how quickly you want to eat more and more of them. At first it may seem strange, this sort of salad without a dressing, but it really allows the flavours of each herb to shine through.

The way to eat it is to place chunks of soft, creamy feta inside the bread and stuff the herbs in alongside. It is almost always served in Iran as a precursor to the meal that is to follow, but you can serve it on its own as a light meal.

Baby beetroot leaves
Basil (all varieties, including Asian)
Chives (unusual and garlic)
Flat-leaf parsley
French tarragon
Mint (all varieties)
Spring onions
Summer savory
Turnip leaves
Fresh feta, to serve
Warm flatbread to serve

Pick the sprigs or leaves from their stalks then gently wash and soak in cold water for 20 minutes to remove any dirt. Drain and air-dry in a colander before wrapping loosely in a clean tea towel and storing in the fridge. This way, the herbs should keep for about a week. Serve a platter of the herbs with a creamy feta and a pile of warm flatbread, which everyone can use to wrap or roll to their heart's content.

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