Spearmint (Mentha spicata or Mentha viridis) is the traditional and most favoured mint of Mediterranean cooking in both fresh and dried form. It is widely used in Middle Eastern Cooking to flavour meat and vegetable dishes, fried with butter or ghee and is used as a final touch to yoghurt, soups and salads. It is regarded as a very Sicilian herb, and something that is rarely seen in other regions of Italy. As it is said to be an appetite stimulant, it is often used in antipasti; in an olive salad or with fresh peas and artichokes. It also works very well with a Pea Risotto. There is a myth around mint which goes like this – Mentha, a Greek nymph was loved by the god Pluto. Pluto’s wife, Persephone was so jealous of Mentha that she crushed her into the ground, but Pluto turned her into a herb that people would love forever.
Always use fresh mint where you can but use it as soon as it is picked as it rapidly loses its flavour.