Oregano: (herb) Light green leaves of members of the mint family. Two distinct types: Mediterranean (Italian/Greek foods); Mexican (chili, Mexican, Tex-Mex foods).
Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek, Spanish and in Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavorful than the fresh. Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes. Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs, oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy. Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles. The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WWII soldiers brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb.