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Super Salad with Edible Blooms

This ‘kitchen sink’ salad has enjoyed rave reviews every time I serve it.

Definite crowd pleaser.

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of leaf lettuce (use your favorite)
  • 6 sprigs of young asparagus
  • 200 grams of fresh mushrooms (use your favorite, these are the button variety, but small portabellos would be wonderful)
  • 1 large sweet pepper (red or yellow)

Blossoms

  • 2 hollyhock
  • 6-8 fuchsia (this one uses two each of red-and-white, salmon, fuchsia, and pink/purple)
  • 6-8 pansies
  • 10-12 -antirrhinums (snapdragons) of various colors
  • 2  pumpkin
  • 1 -rose
  • 2 dahlias
  • 4-daisies
  • 5-8  rocoto
  • 5-8 pepino dulce
  • 10-12 purple salvia, 5 mauve salvia. 5 red salvia
  • 1 large single hibiscus
  • 1 large double hibiscus

If you are harvesting your own blossoms, pick them in the morning when their moisture content is highest, and store until ready to use in a plastic tub in the fridge. If you are buying blooms, make sure they come from a known grower or are certified organic by a reputable certification agency.

Wash the mushrooms and cook on high heat with generous butter and whole peeled garlic until golden brown.

Remove mushrooms from pan, draining butter and leaving garlic for those who want to nibble on them. Let cool at room temp.

Wash and slice pepper into long thin strips, leaving seeds etc for the compost.

Steam asparagus until bright green (2-3 minutes on high heat) with a pinch of salt. remove from heat, drain and set aside in fridge to cool.

Prepare blossoms carefully, removing antlers, stamen, and any green bits. For the rose petals, remove hard white bit at the base of each petal (bitter); note that blooms should be newly opened when picked. Note: prepping the blossoms is labor-intensive so allow plenty of prep time before your planned meal.

Leave daisies whole (they are garnishes) and after removing stamen from fuchsias, leave one of each color whole for presentation. Hollyhocks and dahlias need to be clean of the yellow center. Remove the petals carefully so each is whole. Pansies can be used as garnishes, but need to be completely disassembled if they are part of the salad (you don’t want to serve the green bit that fuses their dainty petals). Rocoto and pepino dulce can be readies by pinching off their green attachment, leaving the blossom intact. Salvias, use only the colored bits, which come off easily from the spire. Remove pumpkin and gladiolus petals gently so they are whole. (If you tear a blossom accidentally, toss it in the salad anyway.)

Wash lettuce and let soak in cold water before spinning (or otherwise drying).

Dry flower blossoms gently by hand (do not spin – petals are delicate) and combine lettuce, pepper slivers, and blossoms, tossing gently.

Arrange daisies and fuchsias attractively around the serving dish (flat is better than a bowl)

Arrange mushrooms and asparagus around edges.

Dressing

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of sea salt
  • juice of one limonia (small Peruvian lime; can substitute two tsp of fresh lemon or large lime)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cream
  • 1 heaping tsp of honey (runny honey is better, but any honey will do)
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well blended. Taste and adjust salt or lemon flavor to taste. Present salad to guests for “oohs” and “ahs,” then dress, toss, and serve.

Provecho!

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