Herbs on Saturday
Elizabethan English Herb and Flower Salad with Honey Dressing
An old Elizabethan salad recipe, but with an air of modernity about it, and totally suitable for the modern-day table as our interest increases in herbal and floral remedies to ease us through today’s busy, stressful and hectic lifestyle. I have made some suggestions about which flowers and herbs to use – but PLEASE do check that the flowers and herbs you choose to use are edible. The French use flowers in their salads on a daily basis, just as we used to do in the past, and although the title suggests this to be an English recipe, this style of herbal and floral salad would have been very common throughout Medieval Europe. I serve this throughout the year, when edible flowers and herbs are in season, always freshly picked from my garden; it is always enjoyed with great relish and is a vibrant topic of dinner party conversation! It makes a lovely appetiser or can be served with the cheese course for an unusual and pretty accompaniment. Make sure that your flowers and herbs are insecticide free, and are not traffic polluted as well………wipe them or wash them gently, allowing them to dry before using them.
The herbs are a moveable feast; my published recipe suggests herbs that were available and worked at the time that I researched and developed this recipe. However, I also use French Tarragon, Savory (both winter and summer savoury) and Marjoram too……when I have them available. And, a little Lovage also adds a salty and yeasty flavour the salad, which is rather nice. (Just one or two leaves if lovage can be very overpowering.) Flowers have been used in cooking for centuries, and many old recipes will often suggest adding marigold petals to dishes, especially red meat and salads, as well as violets. When using flowers in cooking, it is usually best NOT to source them from florists, as it’s impossible to know what chemicals have been sprayed on them to keep them fresh whilst travelling, or as a fertiliser prior to being cut. Many farm shops, as well as supermarkets now offer edible flowers for sale, but of course the best way is to grow them yourself – even a few pots on a sunny window sill will yield enough flowers to adorn your recipes! There is a handy and simple guide to edible flowers here: Edible Flowers
As this is a herbal salad as well as a floral salad, I am entering this salad into my monthly blogging challenge, Herbs on Saturday. Plus, don’t forget that many herbs have wonderful flowers that can be used in salads, such as chives, borage and angelica. This salad makes a wonderful addition to the cheese course, and makes a tasty mouth cleanser. I am looking forward to my borage flowers, I LOVE them in a glass of Pimms, as well as on cheesecakes and desserts. So, here’s looking forward to a VERY floral summer, and let’s hoping that weather improves – on the way back from Edinburgh on Tuesday, I saw snow on the hills in the Northumbria National Park! Have a great day, I am back later with the promised photos, recipes, news and Jubilee bakes – I am off to visit an award winning local preserves kitchen this afternoon, and I will be back with news about that too………Karen.
You can join in my Herbs on Saturday Blog Challenge here:
I am also entering this into Ren’s Simple and in Season event,
which is being hosted by the Botanical Baker for May: