k Spring 'flower power' salad k
With so many pretty spring flowers around at the moment this makes for a stunning salad. I was lucky enough to collect bunches of wild garlic from the countryside surrounding the house, the flowers are truly beautiful with just a delicate subtle taste of garlic.
Also from my garden I used mini pansies and sage flowers that are so pretty – similar to mini foxgloves. Be careful in choosing flowers to eat, some are pretty toxic and can give you a sore belly. Do a quick Google and you’ll be able to decipher what’s edible and what’s not. But here’s my pick of the bunch…violets/ dandelions/nasturtiums/ pansies/ jasmine/ rose/ orange blossom/ lavender/ marigolds/ camomile/ hibiscus/ cornflowers/ flowering herbs such as chives, rosemary and sage.
They can be aromatic or sweet, fresh and lemony or even spicy and peppery. Have a taste of the flower before you use it so you know what you’re dealing with. With the peppery crunch of the spring radishes and the subtle aniseed from the fennel it certainly adds a different dimension to a regular mixed leaf salad, you can actually taste the beauty!
Ingredients (serves 6)
Bunch of radishes
12 fennel bulb
14 cucumber peeled and diced
150g leaves (combination of lambs & baby spinach)
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Handful of flat-leaf parsley
Handful of chives
Edible flowers – I used flowering sage, wild garlic flowers and pansies
80ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
Good squeeze of lemon
Teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt, black pepper to taste
1. Start by very thinly slicing the fennel bulb (best using a mandolin but a sharp knife is fine), do the same with the radish – I left the little green tops on so it adds a little colour contrast.
2. Using a pretty salad platter or large plate arrange the leaves, radishes, cucumber, fennel herbs and edible flowers. Take a little care with the arrangement – you will feel like fabulous florist!
3. Mix the dressing ingredients together and season well. Pour over the salad immediately before eating as it will wilt pretty quickly…and get ready for the oohs and ahhs!
Photo of sage flowers by Hayley Samuelson