Lemon thyme is related to common thyme, and both belong to the mint family. The thyme genus contains more than three hundred plants, including the lemon thyme varieties. There are multiple kinds of lemon thyme, with some looking like common or English thyme and others with different appearances including at least one kind with variegated leaves. All have the signature lemon note combined with the scent and flavor of common thyme. The herb’s flavor profile is complex enough that it might not work with everything. Below is a look at some of the best uses for lemon thyme.
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Use lemon thyme to make an infused oil that allows you to get its flavor in a liquid. Place three to four sprigs of lemon thyme in a mason jar or similar container and cover with oil. Ideally, you will want to use a quality olive oil for this, but any cooking oil can work. Place the jar in a sunny spot and let the flavors infuse from the lemon thyme into the oil. You can then use your lemon thyme-flavored oil in a salad dressing or as a marinade and baste for meat or vegetables.
Along the same lines as the oil above, you can use lemon thyme to flavor vinegar. Place three to four sprigs in a mason jar and cover with vinegar. Let it sit for a few days to allow the flavors to infuse into the liquid. The ideal vinegar for this application is one made from white wine, but any mildly flavored vinegar can work. Try it with a white distilled, champagne, or rice wine vinegar.
Seasoning for chicken
Lemon thyme leaves are excellent in dry rubs and marinades for chicken. You can use the leaves fresh or dried. There are different ways to use lemon thyme as a chicken seasoning. Remove the leaves from the stems and add them to the other dry rub ingredients, or you can place a bunch of thyme into the cavity of a whole chicken. Alternatively, place sprigs of thyme under the skin before grilling or roasting the chicken.
Seasoning for fish
Lemon thyme goes well with any dish that can benefit from the flavor of lemon combined with the flavor of thyme. The list of foods includes fish, which has traditionally been paired with lemon or another citrus. Many recipes for fish pair common thyme with lemon zest and juice to get this combination of flavors. Lemon thyme can provide the same notes on its own. You can use lemon thyme to flavor the broth in which you poach fish.
Common thyme is one of the main elements in the French bundle of herbs known as a bouquet garni. Thyme is usually paired with a set of herbs that includes bay leaf and parsley. The blend is commonly used for cooking traditional French favorites like cassoulet and coq au vin. The bouquet garni simmers until its essence has been infused into the dish’s liquid, and then it is removed. You can use lemon thyme as a substitute for common thyme in most recipes that call for a bouquet garni.
Lemon thyme is enjoyable as a seasoning for roasted vegetables including potatoes, carrots, and beets.
An addition to fruits
Like its relative mint, you can add lemon thyme to fruit salads for a burst of herbaceousness and citrus flavor.
A baked goods seasoning
Use lemon thyme leaves to top herbed breads and even sweet baked items like cookies and scones.