When I smelled lemon verbena for the first time a few years ago, I knew I had a new best friend in the kitchen. It will probably be very clear for everyone soon, how much I love everything that has lemon to it. Taste or smell. One of my favorite finds at the Santa Monica farmers market was the so many varieties of lemon and lime. At some point I will have a post about them for sure.
But for now back to lemon verbena. It is a very special herb, with a powerful scent of lemon and an added intense flowery perfume of its own that I can not even describe. I always buy a bunch at the market, and last time I even got one in a pot, so now I can have it every single day!
Its leaves are a little bit rough, especially the bigger ones. As a result you cannot add them in whole to a dish to eat them as they are. You can steep the leaves in any kinds of liquid and make lemon verbena infused tea, syrup, sorbet, ice cream, creme anglaise, just to name a few.
If you use them as a herb make sure you remove them from the dish after marinating or cooking with it. In case you use it in a salad or garnish I suggest chiffonade cuts. Chiffonade means rolling up the leaves and cutting very thin slices of it.
So next time when you are at the market why don’t you buy some? It will definitely be a frequent herb on my blog and will have an appearance in sorbet, dessert and savory dishes.
The easiest thing you can do with lemon verbena is to make a simple syrup. Then store it in a jar in your fridge and make cocktail, spritzers or alcohol free drinks with sparkling water.
For making a simple syrup you will only need cane sugar, filtered water, a little bit of lemon and a small bunch of lemon verbena. Cook it on low heat until it thickens a bit and then you can store it in a jar in the fridge. To make it into a spritzer mix syrup, very cold sparkling water and some crisp, cold Italian Pinot Grigio. NO ICE!!!!!!! Enjoy!