After a few failed attempts at keeping squirrels, raccoons and various other animals out of our poor vegetable garden, the husband and I switched over to just herbs this past fall. We now have more sage, rosemary, parsley, cilantro and all the other usual suspects than we know what to do with... but the big surprise for me has been the lemon verbena.
I wasn't really sure what to do with it when we planted it - I love it in soaps and scents, but in food? After the plants grew quickly, though, and presented me with all these gorgeous bright green leaves, I had to get creative. Made into a quick tea, used as a flavoring for panna cotta, reduced down as an accent for simple syrups and muddled into cocktails - all sublime.
And then, this sorbet happened.
The idea of making your own ice cream or sorbet seems to freak some people out, but it really couldn't be easier. In this case, you just process the leaves with sugar, add lemon juice, then ice water, and pour into your ice cream maker. Thirty minutes later, yellow-green goodness (with tiny flecks of bright green) comes out, and it's heaven: light, crisp, lemony and sweet.
Lemon Verbena Sorbet
recipe from David's Table
1 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves, gently packed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups ice water
In a food processor, puree the verbena leaves and the sugar until a paste begins to form, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed (this took me about 1 minute). Add the lemon juice and process for 15-30 seconds more, until the mixture looks like wet green sand.
In another bowl, combine the mixture and the ice water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of verbena. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
Of course, it's even better with strawberry-infused gin poured over it; the perfect way to ease into Sunday Funday by the pool. Cheers!