The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Food

April 26, 2012

Lemony Lemon Balm

TARBORO — You never know when you are going to run across something that impacts you. I was shopping in Charleston for groceries for my work week. At the entrance to the supermarket, were some tomato plants. I decided to buy one to keep in front of the window in my hotel room. As I was looking at the tomato plants, I saw a small pot that had a lemon balm plant in it.

I have never grown lemon balm before but I picked it up and sniffed it and fell in love! It smells wonderful. If you run your fingers over it, the lemony smell is terrific. Once I had the plant, I had to find things other than just tea to use it for. I hope that you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.

The first is a recipe is chicken with a lemon balm mixture pushed under the skin. You can also use it with the apples and oranges that you stuff into the cavity.

The second recipe is a pesto that is terrific on spaghetti or any other pasta. It’s really easy to make and will keeps for days in the fridge.

The third recipe is a vinaigrette. You will enjoy your next salad with the dressing on it. I also use it to brush on chicken as I grill it.

The last recipe is a lemon orange cheese spread. It’s great on toast points, crackers or bruschetta. It’s just a mix and use recipe. Very simple to make.

Roasted Lemon Balm Chicken

1/4 cup lemon balm leaves, divided

1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, divided

1/4 cup softened butter

Salt and pepper to taste    

1 (3 1/2) pound whole chicken

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

Set aside 1/3 of the whole lemon balm leaves and 1/3 of the whole sage leaves. Chop the remaining lemon balm and sage. Place the chopped herbs into a mixing bowl with the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir until evenly mixed. Loosen the skin of the chicken, and rub the butter mixture underneath the skin, over the breast and legs. Rub the skin of the chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place the reserved herbs into the cavity of the chicken, and place breast-side-down onto a roasting pan.

Roast in the preheated oven 30 minutes, then turn chicken breast-side-up, and continue baking until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

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