Edible Flower Salad
Wild Strawberries, Grape Tomatoes, Chrysanthemum Greens
Texas Tarragon, Borage, Marigold, Lemon Thyme, Chive Blossoms
In honor of the first days of summer and the unveiling of a new category to my website menu, I present this EDIBLE FLOWER salad. A trip to one of our best local Farmers Markets, plus a stop at my favorite Korean supermarket, and a bit of foraging in my own garden resulted in a one-of-a-kind salad that just screams summer. Every ingredient has a purpose in the flavor/texture/color profile.
Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.
Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.
- wild strawberry
- grape tomato
- field greens
- chrysanthemum leaves
- sunflower seeds
- roasted seaweed
- texas tarragon
- chive blossom
- lemon thyme blossom
- fruity olive oil
- toasted sesame oil
- fiery chili oil
- aged balsamic vinegar
To arrange the salad, start with a shallow pool of olive oil in the middle of the plate, spread with the back of a spoon. Arrange the salad ingredients on one side. Finish by drizzling sesame oil, chili oil, and balsamic vinegar over the olive oil.
A Few Tips on Edible Flowers
I saw an absolutely gorgeous cake on pinterest decorated with attractive purple flowers. Unfortunately, those flowers were society garlic blossoms…and while very pretty and dainty, their pronounced garlic flavor would ruin the taste of any cake.
All flowers are pretty and add to the presentation, but it is important to taste the flowers to make sure their flavor profile doesn’t detract from the dish.
Borage is just about the most beautiful edible flower, with its electric-blue color and starlike shape, it is a favorite among chefs and food stylists. Since I grow it in my garden it shows up in many of my dishes. The flavor is rather neutral, a slight cucumbery taste, so it can be used in sweet or savory dishes. The problem for me was overuse…so in this salad, I pull off the petals and use their striking blue color for contrast rather than as whole flowers. (Read about my first encounter with borage here).
Garland chrysanthemum greens (sukgat in Korean) are unlike any other salad greens ~ feathery and flowery and herbal but not overpowering. The texture and taste of the greens pair wonderfully with fruit and seeds.
As always, choose blossoms that are certain to be edible, grown without pesticides or chemicals, and only eat flowers in moderation. People with respiratory allergies and asthma may need to refrain from eating flowers. Pregnant or lactating women should also use caution when consuming flowers.
The flowers in this salad were chosen for their color and flavor. Yellow marigold petals have a tangy citrus taste while tiny purple lemon thyme blossoms add rich lemony notes. Yellow-orange Texas tarragon adds a punch of licorice. Minced chives and pale purple chive blossoms add a savory onion-y flavor. To prep chive blossoms, remove the central stem from the flower cluster to release the separate florets.
Rinse petals in a bowl of cool water, gently swooshing to remove any dirt or tiny bugs. Spread out to dry on kitchen towels.
Though not used in this salad, it is interesting to note that strawberry flowers and radish flowers are also edible.
Eat flowers, be happy.