I don’t know how Marjoram is regarded in other parts of the world, but in the states it is sorely neglected, especially by vegetarians. On the rare occasion I actually see marjoram on a restaurant menu, it is almost always part of a meat dish.
I find marjoram to be the most floral of herbs (excluding lavender buds). It has a unique sweet, flowery, scent, with a faint whiff of citrus. Although the flavor of dried marjoram is quite strong, it somehow still retains the delicate character of the fresh herb. Marjoram’s closest relative is oregano, but it’s less savory and pungent than oregano. Marjoram is cousin to the other herbs in the Lamiaceae family: mint, basil, sage, lavender, rosemary, savory and thyme. Whereas rosemary, thyme, and sage all taste like Fall/Winter to me, and mint and basil taste like Summer, to me marjoram tastes like Spring. Sadly, I have very few recipes that call for marjoram, but I’d like to remedy this.
One recipe I have tried and liked is a recipe for pureed zucchini with marjoram from Second Helpings from Union Square. It’s definitely an unusual combination, but I really liked it (even if no one else did). Yesterday I made an omelet with mushrooms and some mixed frozen veggies (zucchini, tomato, mushroom…) and a little cheddar, and at the last minute added some soy sauce and marjoram. It was a great combination. I’d definitely make it again.
When browsing the web I found a recipe for beets with marjoram, which I cannot imagine but sounds intriguing. I also came across recipes for brussels sprouts with marjoram, which I think would go together well as the marjoram would highlight the sweetness of the sprouts. Other potential recipes include lentils and carrots with marjoram, pineapple and marjoram, ravioli with pine nuts and marjoram, marjoram and green beans, quesadillas with coriander and marjoram, and polenta with marjoram. I hope to try some of these recipes in the near future. In the meantime, if you have any favorite vegetarian recipes with marjoram please post a comment.