For some, the main ingredient of a dish makes the meal, but for others – like Markus Sorg – there’s more to it than that. Not necessarily more ingredients; this isn’t about quantity but quality. And quality is also what we look for in our herb garden. Not every herb has a superpower, but most are hugely beneficial to health.
‘I’m a real herb advocate. But “superfood” marketing is something else. As soon as something is dubbed a superfood, people start to think that it has superpowers. To me this is exaggeration, pure and simple, and retailers are charging excessive amounts of money.’
Good food is close by, beneficial by nature, and, in most cases, doesn’t need to be processed or enriched with extra ingredients. The power comes from the plant itself. All we have to do is use it correctly.
Verbena is one of Markus’s favourite herbs, so we are delighted to share this wonderful recipe for you to try at home, but first, here are our top tips for using verbena:
Although not a kitchen staple, verbena is used in cooking for a good reason: the herb’s bitter-tasting compounds give it a pleasant, lemony fragrance, as well as stimulating the production of saliva and gastric juices. It is purported to be a diuretic, to stimulate bile flow and have an antirheumatic effect. Verbena helps the liver to cleanse itself. An infusion of verbena is healing, fortifying and helps to reduce fever.
Lightly salt the monkfish and brown it in sesame oil in a large saucepan.
Once it has taken on a nice colour, marinate it in lime juice and take it out of the pan.
Deglaze with Noilly Prat, pour in the base broth and coconut milk and add the deseeded half chilli as well as the lightly crushed lemon grass stalk.
Add herbs to taste and leave to rest at a low heat for around 10 minutes.
Wash and deseed the pepper and cut it into diamond-shaped pieces of about 2cm.
Cut the fish into slices around 4cm thick.
Once the 10 minutes are up, leave the fish and pepper to draw in the stock for another 4–5 minutes.
Serve the fish in a deep bowl with the soup.