Friday, July 16, 2010

Using and Preserving Summer Herbs: Potato Salad with Lemon Balm

And now, a word from Heather Arndt Anderson, master mind & culinary mistress over at Voodoo & Sauce:
It's finally that time of year around here. Time for backyard brats and starchy salads consumed al fresco, yes, but also time to start yanking some of the metric shittonne of lemon balm that colonizes Portland gardens every year. And hey, whaddaya know? My buddy Lo from Burp! asked me to hook her up with a blog post using herbs.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a weedy perennial herb in the mint family. It looks very minty, indeed, with its opposite-decussate leaf arrangement, its square stems and labiate flowers. It doesn't have a minty smell, though; instead, it is infused with the aroma of lemons. I use it for lots of things: mojitos, pistou (a looser version of pesto, great on fish), and recently, vinaigrette.

German potato salad is, around these parts, a mayo-free affair that contains cucumbers (sometimes radishes) for crunch, bacon and a vinegary dressing. Lemon plays well with these flavors, and a salad needs an nice herbal note, methinks, so I added a chiffonade of lemon balm to the vinaigrette, which was warm bacon fat whisked with apple cider vinegar and a dob of mustard. Adding a bit of salt and pepper is wise, perhaps some mustard seeds or caraway if you're feeling bold.
Serve with crispy-skinned brats and an ice cold doppelbock of your fancy. We like Buronator by Aktien-Brauerei Kaufbeuren, or as we like to call it: "Burninator."

Heather has been one of our very favorite bloggers ever since ... oh, maybe late 2007. It could have been her way with Asian fare, or her edgy, witty writing. It could have been her great photos, her love for scarlet runner beans, or the way she brought a new shine to even the humblest of comfort food dishes. It may even have been her affinity for pig roasts. Whatever it was, we've been returning regularly to read her schtick ever since. Gotta check her out over at Voodoo & Sauce . Be sure to say hello and let her know Burp! sent you.

This guest post is part of our Summer 2010 Herb Series: Using and Preserving Herbs. Stay tuned every Friday for more hints, tips, and tricks on how to use summer's bounty!

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  1. Ah yes, Heather's sharp wit has had me laughing plenty of times.

    Pretty much anything with lemon in the title will get my attention. I've never heard of this herb, but will definitely check it out now. Especially when it's included in a potato salad with bacon. Can't go wrong.

  2. I've never had lemon balm before but it sounds delicious! Lemon and potatoes go so well together..I will definitely be seeking this herb out!

  3. Always a pleasure to read HEather's posts. I don't like mayo, so potato salads like this are up my alley!

  4. German potato salads always remind me of my Gram. Full of bacon and vinegar: what's not to love?!

    Got to add Voodoo & Sauce to the feedly. Boy, it's getting crowded over there!

  5. Sounds like a delicious salad! Never had lemon balm before...need to look for it next time I head to the farmer's market.

  6. Nice posts. I'm gonna hop over and check out Voodoo & Sauce.

  7. I love weedy perennials... they seem to grow without any effort on my part. The lemon balm infused potato salad sounds delish but I'll admit you had me at "Mojito."

  8. Used to have some lemon balm in our old house which actually had enough property to plant something in. Definitely not the crop you describe, though. Love German potato salad and thinking this version sounds tempting. I'm in a potatoey mood. :)


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