3 New Exotic Herbs, 3 New Dishes

Of all things, I was attending a Medieval Festival in Germany (haha, sounds hilarious). Anyway, amongst the steel forgers, home brewed ales, and fire cooked meat on a stick, there was a woman selling herbs of all sorts. I was curious, and taken quite by surprise. I combed through the Russian Basil, different mints, thyme, and other oldies but goodies. Then I stumbled upon Lemon Verbena! I have never used it before but have always wanted to..one for the basket. Then I saw a yellow leaved herb that I was unfamiliar with, it ended up being Gold Oregano? Sold….lastly, I saw a small pot in the corner and I recognized it, but it could not be….yes, it’s Lemon Balm, I used to use this when I was cooking at Fonda San Miguel along time ago and was always fond of it but have not seen it since…..Sold

Now what to do with them? Use them as the basis for creating 3 new dishes, completely new dishes…I always love the element of creating new dishes as it pushes me in a disciplined way to really go inside myself, to create flavor and textural combinations that I have not done before or seen before from somewhere else… not always easy but this is the one element that identifies the style, personality and soul of each chef.

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia tiphylla)
Originally from Argentina and Chile, it had made it’s way to Europe in the early 17th centry. Very popular in France where it is treasured for it’s “floral lemon scent” often used in eau de cologne and teas.

My Lemon Verbena dish:
aerated yogurt mousse
strawberry caramel water
lemon verbena cream
powdered coconut milk
riesling drops
dried lemon peel yeast cake
mango skin

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm originates from Eastern Mediterranean and Asia. The lemon balm flowers are often visited by bees which collect honey. The name Melissa or Melise is coming from the Greek word meaning bee. Lemon balm is also used as a spice due to its intense lemon flavor. Lemon balm is known for its calming and soothing properties in a medicinal application.

My Lemon Balm dish

smoked crème fraiche tapioca
cherries & juice
foie gras bon bons
lemon balm

Gold Oregano (Herba Origani, Origanum vulgare L.)

Oregano is part of the Lamiaceae family (Mint Family). The yellow-coloured cultivar or gold oregano is a variation of oregano. It’s taste only slightly differs in it’s bitterness and strength. A closely related plant is margoram from Asia Minor.
Throughout history, oregano and margoram have shared qualities and also been confused for one another where sometimes oregano is called “wild margoram” and margoram is called “wild oregano”?

My Gold Oregano dish

artichoke oil broth
Bluten honey lacquered fennel cake
textures of almonds
gold oregano