Bay is one of the few kitchen herbs to grow as a tree and its leaves, by comparison with other herbs, are relatively tough and leathery, so much so that the leaf itself is not normally eaten, just used to flavour dishes.
Bay leaves are one of the foundations of good cooking, used alone or as part of a bouquet garni to flavour stocks and bouillons, sauces, soups, stews and pickling brines. Try adding a leaf to the water next time you boil rice
Add to slow-cooking meals. Bay leaves release their flavor during slow cooking, so the longer the better. Consider adding bay leaves to casseroles, stews, soups, marinades, pasta sauces. Bay leaves also impart a great flavor to white, cream/cheese sauces (for example, béchamel sauce).
Steam with bay leaves. The flavor of bay comes out nicely with steaming. Try with vegetables, fish, seafood, or chicken in a steamer.
Always remove after cooking and prior to serving. Although bay leaves impart a lovely flavor to the food with which they are cooked, they are not appetizing in themselves. Anyone who has bitten into the forgotten bay leaf will quickly attest to this! Fish it out before serving the dish on plates. This is also why it's important to put thewhole bay leaf into the dish, so it can be removed easily later. Don't break it up into small pieces.