Oregano, a spice similar to marjoram, is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Though the spice is packed with beneficial nutrients, chefs must avoid overuse due to its bold, powerful flavor. It's common mistake, however, to add too much of an ingredient to a dish. The method you use to correct the error depends on the type of oregano as well as the type of dish being prepared.
Skim the surface the soup or sauce with a spoon to collect excess oregano. This only works if you catch the mistake before you stir the dish. If you're preparing a solid food such as chicken, scrape the surface of each piece with the spoon. This method works best with fresh oregano, which can be distinguished and collected more easily than the dried version of the spice.
Strain the remaining excess oregano using cheesecloth. Pour the contents of a thin broth, stock or sauce onto a sheet of cheesecloth over another pot.
Taste the dish after straining to determine how to adjust the ingredients. You may need to replace spices such as salt or pepper that were removed along with the oregano.
Absorb the Flavor
Peel a potato and cut it in half. Boil it in a separate pot of water until slightly tender.
Add the half-boiled potato to a liquid dish like soup. It will absorb some of the excess flavor from spices not collected in the cheesecloth.
Remove the potato with a slotted spoon. Taste the dish to determine whether further action is needed to remove the oregano taste.
Dilute the Dish
Add extra amounts of other ingredients to dilute the taste of excess oregano. Begin with the dish's base ingredient. For example, add an extra can of tomato paste to spaghetti sauce or a cup of chicken broth to soup as applicable.
Stir the ingredients and let the dish simmer for a few minutes so the flavors blend. Diluting the oregano will dilute other flavors as well, so taste the dish to determine what else is needed.
Continue adding ingredients as needed. Add more main ingredients first, then work your way up to the spices, stirring thoroughly and tasting between each step.
If the oregano taste is still too strong, you may need to amend the structure of your recipe. For example, if you're making sauce for lasagna, include less sauce in each layer and add extra ricotta cheese instead. Because ricotta cheese has a lighter, moister consistency than regular cheese, substituting it for some of the sauce will not dry out the dish.
Alison Datko is a professional editor with experience as a journalist, writer and blogger. She contributes to a variety of print and online publications, specializing in music, food, art, fashion and culture.