Working in my gardens at this time of the year is always a pleasure when I am near the lemon balm. Brushing against it releases the fresh scent of lemony goodness.
A member of the mint family, it has ridged leaves and likes to self seed if it is happy. Mine must be happy because now I have it everywhere! This fact lead me to consider new ways to use it rather than just in teas and tinctures. Here is a delicious recipe I came up with for Roast Lemon Balm Chicken. It works on the grill also, but you must use skin on chicken. If grilling, make a compound butter using the herb and slather it on under the skin of the chicken. Let it rest for a day under refrigeration to let flavors marry, then grill.
Roast Lemon Balm Chicken
Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro
1 average size free range roasting bird, rinsed and patted dry, truss and salt the interior
1/2 stick of softened butter
1 cup of finely chopped lemon balm leaves
1 teaspoon sage leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine herbs and seasonings with the softened butter to create a compound butter.
Loosen the bird’s skin, being careful not to tear it.
Slather the butter compound under the breast skin and everywhere you can. Salt and pepper the skin.
Roast in a preheated 350° oven for an hour and a half or until done per the weight. It should have a crisp skin, fragrant with lemon and sage. The drumstick moves easily in its joint when it is properly cooked.
Enjoy with friends and a nice garden salad, maybe a big pile of steamed Romano beans on the side. Ahhh….
Laura Cabot is an MF&L columnist and blogger, a French trained chef with a long career as a chef/restaurant owner, and president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.