Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I made a significant sacrifice Saturday night: I shared the last of our chive flowers with dinner guests. Sprinkled over slices of yellow tomatoes, the purple petals provided both color contrast and a lovely light onion flavor.
Although the chive blossoms are gone, deeper purple flowers still top our sage stalks (particularly nice for garnishing cream soups) and before long the basil plants will provide small white flowers to scatter on sauteed zucchini ribbons and rounds of grilled eggplant.
I've garnished my warm-weather fare with these three herb flowers for years, but a recent visit to Love Apple Farm made me realize I've been overlooking other great sources of culinary flower power. J and I were wandering amidst Cynthia's meticulously manicured garden beds and noted a parsley patch that had gone to seed."Isn't this due to be pulled?" J asked, to which Cynthia replied, "No, David wants the flowers and the seed heads."
A big bed of rocket abloom with white flowers? Same answer. Coriander seed heads? Destined for a squash pudding amuse-bouche at Manresa.
When a two-star Michelin chef grants amnesty to elderly herb and lettuce crops I'd have condemned to the compost pile, I start wondering what I've been wasting from our garden.
So now we're letting the French dandelion flower -- I garnished a platter of poached salmon with the pale blue flowers -- and I'm experimenting with the intensely flavored yellow seed heads from purple mizuna.
My new cooking-from-the-garden motto: If you liked the leaves you're gonna love the flowers.