Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Arugula Flowers and Borage Flowers
Arugula flowers taste just like the leaves, but maybe slightly less peppery and with an interesting hint of sweetness. They make a mighty tasty garnish for such a delicate little white blossom.
Borage flowers have much less flavor, only a whisper of cucumber taste, but what they lack in flavor they make up in color. Because the flavor is mild, borage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they make any presentation pop!
With Spring in full force, my garden is bursting with arugula and borage…and since they are growing side-by-side, I thought I would combine them in a pasta dish.
Arugula leaves make a peppery pesto so I lower the volume and balance the flavor with the addition of cilantro and mint. Those who are not fans of cilantro can combine the arugula with another mild-tasting herb, such as parsley.
It’s April and the borage is blooming! These electric blue star-shaped flowers have a mild cucumber taste and a soft texture. They make a striking addition to any salad.
Here, peppery arugula is accented with borage, giving the salad a distinctive visual emphasis. Feta brings salty-tangy-creamy notes while sweet-sour pomegranate arils add another layer of jewel-like color and a crunchy texture. Pistachios add that distinctive nutty flavor.
Pomegranate vinaigrette ties it all together with sweet-savory-zippy characteristics. Serve the dressing on the side for better presentation. Pair this lovely spring salad with a glass of rosé, of course.
salt and pepper
Toss arugula lightly with olive oil. Gently toss in the flowers. Place salad on serving plates and top with pomegranate arils, feta, and pistachio slivers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a few more flowers on top.
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. pomegranate molasses
2 T. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 t. dijon mustard
1 t. garlic, minced
1 T. shallot, minced
salt and pepper
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well. Serve vinaigrette in a small glass pitcher on the side.
How to Prepare Borage for Food
Unfortunately I see many photographs of borage flowers in food with the sepals still attached. The reddish-brown sepals are covered with bristly hairs, they are not something you would want to eat in a salad.
To separate the corolla from the sepals, simply pinch the middle of the star and pull. Rinse the flowers in a bowl of cool water to remove any dirt or little bugs.
Our fluke crudo with Korean picked radish, nasturtium, and gochugaru vinaigrette was such a hit, we had to share another. A member of the flounder family, fluke has a clean, delicate, fresh taste that is excellent served raw (known as hirame sushi). While dragon fruit also has a mild flavor, it has unique visual appeal, esoteric charm, and a cool name. The taste is enhanced by the delightful Meyer lemon sweet-tart vinaigrette. Together, fluke and dragon fruit make a stunning raw dish.
Borage, my favorite edible flower, is very versatile as a garnish due to the light cucumbery flavor that can be paired with either sweet or savory dishes. And the striking blue color and star shape make every dish pop. Borage grows like a weed in my Southern California garden. I simply sprinkle seeds in a sunny spot, water regularly, et voilà!
Meyer lemon rinds are soft and edible. This lemon’s texture and lemony-orange flavor pairs wonderfully with the fresh fish. Cold fish and warm weather – an uncomplicated dish with fresh ingredients is simple, harmonious, and spring-pretty.
I started to write that this is the first time in almost 10 years that I am sharing a pancake recipe…but that is not true. I have posted several Potato Pancake recipes (latkes) AND Korean Pancake recipes (jeon), but those were savory pancakes, not traditional breakfast pancakes.
For those attempting to eat oatmeal every morning for its soluble fiber and cholesterol lowering benefits, good for you! But let’s face it…the whole-grain, high-fiber, gluten-free, steel-cut or old-fashioned rolled oatmeal in a bowl can get boring fast.
So you might be excited to see this recipe for oat pancakes! These oatmeal pancakes are made from two types – oat flour and rolled oats. It was adapted from the package recipe on Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Oat Flour.
I made a few changes to Bob’s recipe – leaving out the two tablespoons of sugar; substituting extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil; and cooking the pancakes until the edges are nice and crispy.
These are not light and fluffy pancakes with a homogeneous spongy texture. They are super-hearty…and uber-delicious.
Although I photograph them in a stack of five, there is no way anyone would eat that many. Unless you are training for something big, or you are my teenage nephew.
Additionally, instead of the traditional big scoop of butter on top of the stack, I serve a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt. It is equally satisfying, and healthier.
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.
Celebrating Julia Child’s Birthday with Macerated Fresh Black Mission Figs and Marsala/French Vermouth Sabayon Roasted Hazelnuts, Maldon Sea Salt, Borage
It has been a tradition since the beginning of Taste With The Eyes in 2007, to celebrate and honor Julia Child in the month of August. She passed away eleven years ago today, and her 103rd birthday would have been on Saturday.
With the happy confluence of the call for chilled desserts by my friends at the Food Network, the need for an elegant dessert course for my virtual restaurant – The Borage & Basil Bistro, and the annual tribute to our beloved Chef – it is my sweet pleasure to share Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child.
Julia Child Tributes
Travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection as Julia describes her very first meal in France in 1948. (here)
Sneak into Julia’s kitchen to watch her make the authentic Caesar Salad and Salmon in Papillote in her usual charming and un-fussy manner. (here)
Join Julia and her friends in a beautiful courtyard, seated at a little white table beneath a leafy trellis for a splendid lunch, while they uncover the secret of loup de mer. (here)
Julia Child August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004
“…A careful approach will result in a magnificent burst of flavor, a thoroughly satisfying meal, perhaps even a life changing experience. Such was the case with the Sole Meunière I ate at La Couronne on my first day in France, in November 1948. It was an epiphany. In all the years since that succulent meal, I have yet to lose the feelings of wonder and excitement that it inspired in me. I can still almost taste it. And thinking back on it now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appetit!“
The Borage & Basil Bistro is a bright sunny spot, a virtual place to enjoy summer’s bounty on a pretty plate. A relaxing place to sip a nice cool, crisp and melon-y Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh picked herbs and edible flowers dominate the menu.
Today’s salad special takes the ubiquitous combination of watermelon and feta and adds our eponymous borage & basil. Like bright stars falling from the summer sky…with it’s electric blue color and a faintly sweet flavor with hints of cucumber, borage makes the presentation pop! Pomegranate syrup adds sweet and tangy notes, while sprouted watermelon seeds add interest – they’re high in protein, with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. It’s a visually striking salad, light yet satisfying. And it just screams summer!