Peppery arugula leaves are softened by the bright, slightly sweet and aromatic combination of lemon balm and basil.
- 4 slices French bread, cut on the diagonal
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic cut in half
- 2 cups fresh arugula leaves
- ½ cup fresh lemon balm leaves
- ¼ cup red onion slices
- Fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- 2 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
- 4 whole fresh lemon balm sprigs, optional
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon balm
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat broiler. Arrange bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, turn and broil for another 2 minutes, or until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven and rub both sides with garlic; set aside.
- To make salad, toss arugula, lemon balm, onion and basil in a bowl; set aside.
- To make dressing, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon balm in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and shake well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add half the dressing to arugula and herbs; toss lightly.
- To serve, place one bread slice on a plate. Spoon ¼ of the salad over bread. Arrange avocado and peach slices over salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over fruit. Garnish each with a sprig of lemon balm, if desired, and serve immediately.
Photographer, writer, lecturer and culinary herbalist Pat Crocker loves lemon: As a child, Pat could eat fresh lemons as one might eat an orange. At her home in Neustadt, Ontario, Canada, she puts her ‘pucker power’ to work developing new ways to use the clean citrus flavor of lemon balm in recipes. Her newest book, The Vegetarian Cook’s Bible, will be available later this year. For more information about her, visit
Click here for the original article, Long Live Lemon Balm: Herb of the Year 2007.