Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spring Asparagus Salad, and yes you can eat the flowers too!




Lots of people know by now that I eat flowers, but still, some think of it as a bit of a freak thing to do. But if you have a few edible flowers in your garden (absolutely organic, no sprays allowed) they just make your dishes look so pretty, and they are not merely a decoration, they can have flavour and fragrance too! I used onion weed flowers, which have a mild garlic/oniony taste, and nasturtiums, which are probably the only flowers that the general public in New Zealand seem to consder edible (some claim to use them in salads, but in all these years here I have seen more trendy talk than action, and still far too much coleslaw). My first borage flowers and a few little violets added perhaps little taste, but they are eye catching with their blue hues, and welcome on my plate anytime.




On a large plate I prepared a bed of baby spinach leaves and then I steamed some asparagus. To save time and gas I steamed the asparagus over the vegetable soup that I was cooking for dinner (so that I could make lunch and dinner at the same time). I meant to photograph the finished soup too, since all the veggies come from my garden, but I forgot. Anyway, it had my last cabbage, carrots, celery (mostly leaves), cavolo nero, broad beans (they are here, finally!) and onion weed (of course). It was a lovely soup, and I just had to add pasta and seasoning, all the rest was from my garden. Anyway, back to the asparagus salad: after steaming the asparagus I rinsed them under cold water and placed them over the spinach leaves. And then I added the flowers. I am not a fan of vinagrette and complex dressings, so I just added salt, extra virgin olive oil and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. I also think that a simple Japanese miso and sesame seed dressing like this one could go well. This was a light but satisfying lunch for two.





Another bit of news, this month Arantxa is in Girlfriend Magazine (by herself, no Mum :-), the editor of the magazine came over to interviewed her, and she was really really nice, so I would like to thank her, also for quickly sending the magazine to Arantxa as soon as it was out.


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

PS: yesterday I had 995 page views, the closest I ever got to 1000. The top visitors were (as always) from NZ, 249, followed by US with 205, and Italy with 154. Sometimes it seems that it is not what you post on that day that matters, but some sort of random mystery....


17 comments:

  1. What pretty flowers! And edible too! Have you ever made tea out of edible flowers?

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  2. So pretty! I've been eating flowers this spring too, but my dishes didn't look as lovely as yours.

    Our rabbit adores flowers. He gobbles them up greedily like they are the most delicious things in the world. Bright yellow dandelion flowers are his favourite. Which leads me to wonder, I know we can eat dandelion leaves, but what about the flowers?

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  3. @ Sugar and Spice, the best is chrysanthemum, I had rose and lavender teas, but i prefer to make teas with leaves.

    And to answer to Bunny too, you can make tea with dandelion flowers. You can eat every part of the dandelion, but it is quite bitter...

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  4. Mi affascinano i tuoi piatti con i fiori, io non li ho proprio mai usati...avrei bisogno qualche consiglio per iniziare!! Con le giornate sempre più buie, mi dimentico sempre che voi andate incontro all'estate...buona giornata carissima, ciao,franci

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  5. Ciao Alessandra, per noi che siamo in autunno e..da qualche giono è veramente autunno in Emilia con le foglie delle vigne che sono diventate rosse e marroni e pensare che da te è primavera mi lascia un po' frastornata. Adoro la cucina con abbinamenti particolari!!
    Un bacio tutto emiliano per te!!
    Morena

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  6. Heheh, you're so right it is mostly just talk with the edible flowers thing. I sometimes use marigold petals in my salads but not often enough! I had some gorgeous blue cornflowers that I painstakingly grew too but in the end just admired them.

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  7. What a pretty pretty plate, loving all the asparagus & I like eating flowers :) So lovely to see your daughter doing so well too, you must be very proud :) And great result on the page views!!

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  8. Ciao Ale, sono due giorni che non riesco a lasciare commenti sul tuo blog, ho avuto qualche inghippo con blogger....il tuo piattino è delizioso, anche qui da noi si iniano a proporre i fiori nei piatti, ma sono tutti ancora un pò "bloccati" dall'argomento...io di mio uso da qualche tempo le erbe spontanee, purtroppo le prossime ricette le vedrai in primavera (la nostra primavera italiana!) ciaoooo

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  9. @ Franci, una volta cominciato poi metti fiori dappertutto, te lo assicuro! :-)

    @ Morena, vero, anche a me fa effetto e diventa difficile essere in sintonia con i bloggers dell'emisfero del nord, che in fondo sono la maggioranza. Mi sento sempre 'fuori stagione!'

    @ Zo, thank you for your comment, I am glad that I made you smile, I was worried that 'foodies' would get offended, I can be a bit straight forward when express my opinions! I started using flowers when I was in Japan, many years ago, funny to think that then I used to buy them! But here I have a garden, so it is real flowers bonanza! I have just planted my marigolds (from seeds, I'll need to wait) but they are among the best for a burst of colour! Thank you for mentioning cornflowers, I don't have them and now I want those too!!!

    @ Mairi, yes I am proud of my little girl, and she is so relaxed about the whole thing: obviously she saw from her Mum that being a food writer is not exactly glamorous or life changing (unless you are a TV or famous chef/writer) but she loves magazines so she is pleased that there are more than usual these days kicking around the house, including one that is right on for her age! For the page views, it can be so random, lets see how it continues before celebrating :-).

    @ Artu', aspetto la tua primavera allora, ed intanto mi guardo i tuoi piatti autunnali, anche se, come ho detto a Morena, a volte mi sento 'fuori stagione'!

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  10. Bellissimo il tuo piatto di asparagi, quel tocco di colore è di classe! Complimenti ancora per il vostro successo editoriale. Aranxta è veramente in gamba!
    Mio figlio a scuola ha studiato i due emisferi, questo blog può anche essere un modo facile di fargli capire cosa accade nell'altro emisfero. Nella vita ogni cosa è fonte di conoscenza.
    Buona serata!

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  11. Congratulations Arantxa! And Alessandra on almost meeting 1,000 views in a single day! It is an incredible achievement!! I really am enjoying the flowers - if you can eat the rest of the plant, why not the flower?

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  12. Ciao Ale! Che magnifiche fotografie, bellissimi i colori che mi riportano alla primavera. Io nn ho mai mangiato i fiori... nn so nemmeno dove poterli acquistare, però mi piacerebbe provarli.
    Un bacione, a presto Chiara

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  13. Chiara, molti fiori li puoi crescere tu o raccogliere nei prati :-).
    Ciao
    A.

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  14. bellissimi e così profumati questi asparagi!

    quasi quasi un po' ti invidio perché laggiù siete in primavera... è buffa questa cosa...

    complimenti a tua figlia, è così carina!

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  15. wow, beautiful flowers, great to know that they are edible too, wonderful salad..interesting !!

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  16. I love the idea of eating flowers - but don't have any suitable ones in my garden, unless the herbs flower!

    Congrats on your high page views - well deserved!!

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  17. Herb flowers are good, especially sage and rosemary!

    Ciao
    A.

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