Potato lemon balm salad: summer cooking at its best!

Did you know use of “uncommon herbs” is one of this year’s hottest culinary trends? I picked up this information while doing research in preparation for attending the latest National Restaurant Association Show (you can check out my review here), and I couldn’t be happier. I’m glad to see the overall “return to nature” approach at work, be it epitomized by plant-based products, imperfect produce, exotic fruit and super fruit – or, finally, uncommon herbs.

But, what are some of the less used herbs at the top of the popularity pyramid this year? In the brochure which details this year’s top trends, the National Restaurant Association gives chervil, lovage, lemon balm and papalo as examples of uncommon herbs. I really wish we’d grown lovage: my mom uses a lot of lovage in her cooking, but sadly I have yet to find this plant available for purchase in Chicagoland. Luckily, on the other hand, our lemon balm bush has survived the polar vortex and is now thriving in our garden. Time then to make a lemon balm salad – so beautiful, so seasonal, so fresh 🙂

This salad is super easy to make and does not require lengthy preparation. Getting the oven roasted potatoes done is the most time-consuming part of the process – but the end result is so worth it!

I highly recommend you use fresh chopped herbs to coat the potatoes (I used oregano and rosemary from our garden), but dried herbs will be fine too since they absorb the olive oil really well. If using dried, use 2tbsp instead of 1/4 cup. Dried herbs tend to have a stronger flavor than their fresh counterpart.

This aside, the process is straightforward: Put the roasted potatoes, corn, peppers and snow peas in a bowl, cover with the dressing, mix until well combined, season, serve, enjoy! Keeping it simple and as close to the original state as possible is all the rave these days – but this needn’t be a passing trend, in my opinion. Eating a varied diet, featuring fruit and veggies as little processed as possible, is sensible, mindful, and a lifetime investment in good health – or so it is to me, anyway 🙂

Print Recipe
Potato lemon balm salad
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Wash the potatoes and place in a baking pan covered with pre-oiled aluminum foil. In a small bowl mix the olive oil with garlic and chopped fresh herbs (alternatively, use 2tbsp dried herbs). Pour the mixture over the potatoes, and coat the potatoes with it evenly. Roast the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until fork-tender (you can prep the other veggies while the potatoes are cooking). When done, place the potatoes in a big salad bowl to cool down. When cool, cut them into 1.5in pieces - or leave them whole if small.
  2. Make the vinaigrette by mixing together the oil, vinegar and chopped lemon balm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the corn, peppers and snow peas in the same bowl as the potatoes. Pour over the dressing and mix until well combined. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary, and mix some more. Serve slightly chilled.
  4. Enjoy!

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