Spring is one of my favorite times of the year, as freshly grown and harvested ingredients become more available, especially greens and flowers. The tender shoots of chive plants have pushed through the soil, the mint stalks are starting to green, and the pansies in the hot house are in bloom!
Soon the yard will be sprinkled with bright, purple violet blossoms, deep lavender pom-pom heads of chives, and the yellow, green and purple blossoms of the prolific Johnny-jump-ups. A well-thought-out composed salad plate is a delicious and beautiful way to start or end a meal. When adding edible flowers, this salad becomes a colorful centerpiece for a spring table.
As you start combining salad greens, vegetables, herbs and flowers, take time to picture in your mind’s eye what the salad plate will look like. Then think of the flavors of your ingredients and how they will blend together. Although the recipe for Spring Flower Salad is quite basic, it allows for tremendous variation by the creative home cook.
One of our favorite versions is a combination of greens and flowers accented with toasted nuts or seeds, crumbled cheese, and chopped fruit. I like working with local goat cheeses, and many artisan cheese makers flavor their cheeses with herbs like dill, chives and garlic. The more assertive your cheese, the more distinctive flavors you’ll need in other ingredients for a tasty contrast.
The same theory holds true for your dressing. A simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar is a good balance between oil and acid. By using walnut oil or sesame oil, you increase the intensity of flavors. Herbal vinegars are another step in creating layers of flavors.
Of course the best part of your salad is the eating! There is no right or wrong in preparing a Spring Flower Salad (just be sure to use edible flowers), just personal taste preferences. Be sure to keep notes and share the recipes with me.
Spring Flower Salad
- 6 cups Salad greens (baby lettucesspinach, watercress, even the tops of sprouted roots)
- 1 - 1 ½ cups assorted edible flowers (pansyviolets, Johnny-jump-up, chive)
- Fresh mint leaves
- Snipped chives
- chopped fresh parsley
- Dill sprigs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Wash the greens well and pat or spin them dry. Tear into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry the herbs. Gently rinse the flowers and pat them dry.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.
- Arrange the greens on a serving platter and scatter the herbs over them. Arrange the flowers decoratively on the top. Stir the vinaigrette and drizzle over the salad. Toss gently and serve.
- Additions: crumbled cheese, toasted nuts or sunflower seeds, chopped fruit like apples or pears, dried fruit like cranberries or raisins, chopped bacon bits, baby radishes.