Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to use edible flowers in your cooking. Not only do edible flowers beautify your salads, cakes and other dishes, they also add a very elegant fragrance both in smell and taste. This fresh flower salad looks and tastes amazing, and besides a bunch of edible flower petals, it has what I think are some of the best green produce available this time of year: fresh Brussels sprouts and garden snap peas.
The salad is quite simple with no dressing added, just a drizzle of good quality olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper, but nothing more is really needed with these gorgeous ingredients. As with a lot of things, often less is more.
To give you a bit of inspiration, here’s a list of a some of my favorite edible flowers, which you can easily grow in your own garden. Or, if you feel you’ve never really been bestowed with a set of green fingers, you may be able to find them in well-stocked green grocer’s. Wherever you get them from, though, just make sure they haven’t been sprayed with any nasty chemicals.
- Pansies – especially good for salads, cakes, cheese or candied.
- Dill flowers – beautiful in salads, especially potato salads, and great in schnapps!
- Lavender flowers – great for cakes and bread
- Marigold or calendulas – especially the yellow and orange varieties are good for cakes, salads and dressings. Known as the ‘poor man’s saffron’.
- Carnations – only the petals are edible! Great for salads or as decoration on cakes.
- Sage flowers – elegant and fragrant in salads, pasta dishes or on cakes.
- Dandelion – both flowers and leaves are edible. Try deep-frying them! Or, great in salads as well.
- Nasturtiums – beautiful in salads or topping for open-faced sandwiches. Taste a bit like cress.
- Rosehip petals – especially good when candied or in jelly or marmelade.
Fresh flower salad with Brussels sprouts, snap peas and greens (serves 4-6 as a side)
About 2 handfuls micro greens, baby spinach, dandelion leaves or arugula, or a mix, washed well
1/3 lbs (150 g) fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
1/3 lbs (150 g) fresh snap peas, cut lengthwise into halves
1.5 tbsp butter
1 good handful of edible flower petals
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Start but washing the greens well and cutting up the Brussels sprouts into quarters and the snap peas into halves lengthwise.
2. Leave the greens in a colander to get rid of excess water while you quickly sautée the Brussels sprouts and snap peas in the butter at medium to high heat. Just let them fry in the butter for 4-5 minutes so they’re still crips and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
3. Now assemble the salad by first pouring the green leaves/micro greens onto a large serving platter. Then add the sautéed Brussels sprouts and snap peas and toss together gently. Finally scatter the fresh flower petals over the salad and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Finish off with an extra couple of churns of freshly ground black pepper if you like.
Want more ideas for tasty and easy salads? Here are a few really worth trying out: