Cuban Oregano

In this year's SAVEUR 100, we take stock of our favorite things: recipes, people, places. We consider every last one a new classic.

cuban oregano new crop

Michael Kraus

This is like oregano on steroids. Cultivated throughout the tropics, Plectranthus amboinicus, the "herb of a hundred names"—oregano brujo, Indian borage, Mexican mint, and broadleaf thyme, to name a few—adds pungency to Vietnamese soups, Cuban beans, and Jamaican jerk; in India, whole sprigs are battered and fried. We grow it in a pot and pluck its three-inch-wide leaves for stews, braises, and salads. Bitter, peppery, and juicy when raw, it develops luscious sweetness when cooked, and its fragrance is unmistakable—an intense cross between oregano and sage.