Closely related to oregano [which is sometimes called wild marjoram], marjoram is a staple of Mediterranean cooking. Marjoram tastes similar to oregano, but has a more delicate, flowery taste-- sweet and piney, with citrus flavors.
Marjoram has a long and storied history of use. Indigenous to the Mediterranean, legend has it that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, created marjoram as a symbol of happiness, and bridal couples in Greece and Rome wore crowns of the herb at their weddings. Traditional medicine uses marjoram as a remedy for colds and sore throats; dried marjoram leaf was popular as snuff.
Marjoram leaf is omnipresent in the cuisines of France, Italy, North Africa, the Middle East and the U.S. Marjoram leaf is also a component of the culinary herb blends Herbes de Provence, and Za'atar.
Marjoram can be used in meat dishes, fish, tomato dishes, stuffings, breads, salad dressings, and chowders. Marjoram leaf is a familiar flavor in many meat recipes such as meat loaf, Polish sausage, liverwurst and bologna. Marjoram leaf lends a familiar taste to stuffing for chicken or turkey, and is tasty in the rice in stuffed peppers.
Marjoram is a delicious seasoning for tomato based sauces, olive oil and vinegar salad dressings with anchovies. It complements portobello mushrooms and other fresh vegetables such as eggplant particularly well. Marjoram leaf works best when added to your recipe toward the end of the cooking period.