Cooking with Sage and Lemon Balm
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Mike
Posted on: May 28, 2004

I have planted sage and lemon balm but never cooked with either one of them, what suggestion do you have for me.

Sage Uses: In stuffings for poultry, fish, game and other meats; in sauces, soups and chowders, meat pies, sausage (so-sage!); in marinades; in barbecue sauces with rosemary and thyme. Use sparingly. For roast pork: with sharp knife, make slits in the skin 1/4-inch apart; brush with olive oil to which a handful of chopped or crushed leaves has been added. Excellent deep-fried as an appetizer or garnish (for chicken or pork, or squash soup), in Saltimbocca in which veal, prosciutto, Parmesan cheese and fresh sage leaves are made into rolls and cooked, topped with a marsala wine sauce (see recipe in Thyme in the Kitchen - Cooking With Fresh Herbs). An herbal oil made with fresh sage is excellent brushed over meats, yeast breads (focaccia). Good with onions, cabbage, corn, eggplant, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables. Sage dries well and whole leaves can be stored in a glass jar away from heat and light.

Lemon Balm (Sweet Melissa) Uses: Poultry dishes (or stuffing) and with pork chops; with shrimp, lobster and mussels; with vegetables; in green or fruit salads; to make herb vinegars. Dried leaves make a pleasant tea on their own or added to a pot of regular black tea. Place lemon balm leaves in a glass of ice, add half wine and top with soda for a refreshing spritzer. Freeze chopped lemon balm in ice cube trays covered with water; once frozen, remove and store in plastic freezer bag or container.

My book, "Thyme in the Kitchen - Cooking with Fresh Herbs" (c. 2002 Prentice Hall), is available from Richters; for Herb Directory and preview of recipes, visit


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