Veggie of the Week - Thai Lime Leaves
sponsored by Coleman Farms
Thai Lime Leaves, Makrut, Hoja de Ocho, Kaffir Lime - the range of names reflects the culinary coverage of this citrus. The leaves, and the zest of the fruit contain a concentrated lime essential oil, which makes them useful wherever this flavor is desired.
Traditional uses are in Thai curry pastes - together with basil, coriander, hot chiles - and in soups and other dishes containing fish or chicken. The leaves can be placed whole on fish or other flesh prior to wrapping in foil, banana leaves or whatever and cooking, or they can be ground in a pestle together with other spices to make a sort of marinating spice rub.
Less traditional, but no less effective, is using the leaves to give a lime flavor to beverages - you might think of iced tea or certain alcoholic drinks. A particulary nice quality of the leaves is that they can provide a strong citrus/lime flavor unaccompanied by citric acid, so they are a perfect means of flavoring custards and ice-cream bases which the acid might curdle.
Available from Coleman Farms at the Friday and Saturday markets.