Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bergamont in a Pot

Of late, everyone seems to be giving me plants. First, the big box of green goodness, and yesterday a friend's husband (a super-duper everyday gardener if there ever was one) gave me bergamont. He mentioned during an outing last that he had found some, and was surprised at how excited I was to hear of it. The nursery where he bought it had since closed, so there was no chance to head over and get my own little pot. I asked him to save me some seeds when the time came, and mentioned that I had a great recipe for potato salad if he wanted it.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready to leave their house, he called to talk to his wife. She bustled about, and I began gathering my things to head home. Suddenly, she appeared at my side with a small pot and asked me if it was bergamont. It looked right, but I broke off a wee bit of leaf to do a taste test. Bergamont, indeed! The two little side shoots were mine to take home if I wanted.

Happy as a lark, I carefully biked home with my new little friends in my basket. Settled now in their new pot on the balcony, I'm already dreaming of their airy blooms and tiny, tiny seeds. And, of course, my friend Maan's potato salad!

Bergamont, also known as monarda or bee balm, is one of my favorite native plants. It fills the woods near my aunt and uncles home in Michigan, and is a favorite seed head to spot when tromping the winter trails there. Bees and butterflies alike enjoy the blooms, and the leaves as I've mentioned, make a most wonderful potato salad. (Same guy who shared the green bean and tomato recipe that is a favorite summer treat, so you know it's got to be good.)

Maan's Potato Salad
3 large potatoes, peeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 Cup Bergamont leaves, thinly cut
Pinch of salt

Boil the potatoes until soft, but not too soft, of course. Cut into bite size pieces and plop into a salad bowl. Mix in the minced garlic, olive oil, leaves, and salt. Try not to eat it all in one sitting, alone.


Sue Dickman said...

Very cool! I have lots of bee balm in my garden, but I had no idea the leaves were even edible, not to mention delicious in potato salad!

Anjuli said...

I will definitely have to try the potato salad recipe- I've made my same recipe now for more than 20 years- I think I'm due for a change. The only thing I've had bergamont in is my earl grey tea.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

I can't wait to hear how your experiments go, Sue and Anjuli! The potato salad is just lovely, although it takes a bit to get the ratios you want. I tend to be a non-measurer, so whatever I get is what I get. My friend whose recipe this is also often serves a flat bread hot with zatta (the Lebanese word for bergamont) on it with a skimming of olive oil...I'm feeling homesick now!