Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Forget-You-Not the Flowers



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.

8 comments:

Sonia Simone said...

I like nasturtiums just for their Matisse vibe. They don't taste like anything, but they make the plate look fabulous.

My little dude wants flowers on his (3 year) birthday cake. I think he was thinking of the candy variety, but I wonder if I could round up something real to add to that. We have some little wild violets that I think would be very fetching.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

This weekend I will have to cut my chive blossoms, too. They are always the earliest thing in bloom in the herb garden, and the first herb to find its way into my cooking each spring.

katiez said...

Well, I have condemned untold wheelbarrows full of chive blossoms (and sage, and basil) to the compost bin...
I was about ready to do it again... I may have to rethink this whole flower thing.

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