An herb with long, thin, gray-green leaves and a woody scallionlike base with a sour-lemon flavor and fragrance. Citral, an essential oil, gives lemon grass its sour-lemon flavor and fragrance. The tender inner core is chopped, like scallions, and used in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. The tough outer parts can be used to flavor soups and teas.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Choose blemish-free green stalks with white roots. If leaves are dried out, there won't be much flavor.
How to store: Keep fresh lemon grass in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic bag up to two weeks.
How to prepare: Use only the bottom 4 inches of the stem (up to where the leaves begin to branch)
Matches well with: chicken, fish, pork, shellfish, soups
Substitutions: 1 tsp freshly grated lemon rind for 1 tsp lemongrass