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September 1999 Issue
Origanum majorana -- Marjoram
by Rossana S. Tarantini
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Marjoram: popular all through the Western world and most commonly found in Italian, Mexican, Greek and French -- especially Provencal -- cooking, it's easily my most favourite herb -- after garlic and basil, of course! It is very similar to oregano, but has a more delicate flavour. Add it to your tomato dishes, especially sauce; it's great in bean and meat dishes; marinate vegetables in it for grilling or add it to your favourite vinaigrette. Use it in a bouquet garni or add it to favourite meat and stuffing recipes, you'll like the subtle flavouring it gives.

Marjoram is a perennial, growing into a bush about 30cm (12in) high. A well established plant could spread as much as 45cm (18in) and makes an attractive addition to a garden. It has wonderfully aromatic dark green foliage and when in bloom, produces masses of tiny pink flowers. Really a pretty plant too!

Let's see, my compendium suggests that a marjoram tisane is a great aid to digestion. Probably, this is why it works so well in all tomato based dishes; helping to offset the acidity sometimes found there.

Here's a really different side dish recipe. I'm not much for cooked carrots, but done this way, they're not half bad! I found it years ago in an old book called The Herb Bible, unfortunately, I didn't make note of the author!


Carrot and Lima Bean Crisp

This makes an excellent vegetarian main course too.
  • 1 lb. carrots, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 pound lima beans, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped marjoram
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp reserved vegetable cooking liquid
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and white pepper to taste
Steam the carrots and lima beans till just tender. Reserve the cooking liquid for later. Toss the vegetables in the butter and stir in the marjoram and honey, making sure to coat everything evenly. Pour into a baking dish and drizzle the reserved liquid over all.

Mix together all the crisp ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper and spread over the vegetables. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.

  • Yields: 4 servings as a main dish
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

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