Flower Garden Salad

                                                              Flower Garden Salad

When I was first starting in the catering business in Atlanta, GA, I was asked to cater a luncheon honoring Angelo Donghia, an internationally recognized interior designer. His host and my friend and client was Stan Topol, who at the time was an up and coming star on the design scene. Stan was both thrilled and nervous to entertain one of the leaders of his profession. I was new in the catering business and wanted to show off for me and especially for Stan who had given me the opportunity. Knowing Stan liked to leave a beautiful visual impression, I chose a springtime menu of open-faced brioche sandwiches topped with poached salmon and a homemade tarragon mayonnaise and a salad of romaine, watercress, fresh violets and mint. Stan had decorated the conference table with his signature crystal bowl filled with decorative glass spheres-no flowers.

The luncheon went well. But when the salad was served, Mr. Donghia exclaimed repeatedly over the flowers and how much he loved them and the surprise of finding them in a salad. He credited Stan with making sure he had his flower “fix” even though there were no arrangements on the table. Needless to say, Stan was thrilled that my “accidental” menu suggestion had made him look like a genius.    Asparagus and   Flower Salad

Since that time I am always on the lookout for flowers to not only garnish desserts and main courses, but to incorporate into my salads. It is easy with my garden blooming in Martha’s Vineyard for 6 months of the year. Of course there are nasturtiums and rose petals, but I often use white star-shaped arugula flowers after my cool weather plants bolt. I have pink honeysuckle vines outside the kitchen door, english daisies in the meadow, dandelions, lilacs, purple chive blossoms and sometimes some yellow mustard flowers. Using flowers makes the act of “composing” a salad even more creative and visually pleasing.

Garden flower Salad w/ butter leaf lettuceI had fun this morning creating many variations of the flower themed salads. I used golden begonias, pink honeysuckle, lilac, sage flowers, chive blossoms, nasturtiums and daisies. I hope you’ll consider trying some of these true garden salads.

And when you do, it is always advisable to look up any flower to see if it is truly edible or if only a certain part of the flower can be eaten safely. Here is a link with some ideas and guidelines. Be sure to know the source of your flowers. A commercial floral arrangement is likely to be contaminated with pesticides. No random roadside picking please and do wash as you would any other garden offering.





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