Flowers inspire me greatly — and different flowers make me think about different foods.
“Friday Flowers” isn’t necessarily about adding floral items to what I’m cooking. Flowers often just make me think of different foods I want to eat or cook. For example Lavender makes me think of grilled meat (I know: a little bizarre), and Hydrangeas bring my mind to cupcakes with super rich, beautiful buttercream!
I don’t go out looking for inspiration. Flowers just grab me as I pass by them. I’m not sure if Nastursiums are growing like crazy where you are, but here in LA, they’re everywhere right now. This week I jogged past a huge spread of them in the Santa Monica Mountains, drove by a hillside of them on the way to my son’s swim class, and saw them growing wildly on almost every residential street in my neighborhood! Nastursiums are so pretty and happy. These little wonders don’t require much attention to grow, so they thrive easily. Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible as long as pesticides aren’t used. They add a great peppery flavor and vibrant color to any dish.
So yes, today we are actually eating the flowers! Since I find Nastursiums to be so cheerful, this is a very bright salad. It dances with color and flavor! Delightful for your brunch this weekend!
Friday Flowers might not happen every week, but expect it fairly often, because flowers do capture my imagination. What flowers inspire you?
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
5 ounces mixed baby greens
2 Ruby Red grapefruits
1 large avocado
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup pistachios
For the dressing:
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Wash and dry the greens and add them to a serving bowl large enough to mix the salad.
Cut the grapefruits into “supremes.” This is a way of removing the skin and all of the membranes that surround the flesh to make pretty slices.
To cut the supremes: On a cutting board, use a paring knife to cut about 1/2-inch off the top and bottom of each grapefruit. Now, to remove the skin, set the grapefruits down on one of their flat surfaces and use the knife, moving downwards into the fruit and cutting only slightly into the flesh. Once you’ve removed all of the skin, use the paring knife to slice on each side of each grapefruit segment and gently lift it out with the knife. Add the supremes to the bowl with the greens as you go and save the remaining parts of the grapefruits! (It’s where the juice for the dressing will come from!)
Peel and cut the avocado into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick, and add them to the salad bowl along with the cheese.
To make the dressing, in a small mixing bowl, squeeze the excess juices from the grapefruit leftovers to equal 1/4 cup. Whisk in the mustard, 1 teaspoon of the honey, and the salt. Gradually whisk in the oil and then season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon of honey over the pistachio nuts and stir to coat them.
Add the desired amount of dressing to the salad, toss and top with the pistachios.
If you can get your greens at a Farmer’s Market, that’s ideal. You can often find lovely mixes that include flowers, herbs, and many different lettuces. Find a Farmer’s Market near you!
If you don’t see Nastursiums on your street, they will often sell them in plastic containers in the herb section of the produce department, in the supermarket.
I intentionally make more dressing than is needed — I love having another serving or two to use throughout the week on other salads I might make.
You might want to check out How To Cut An Avocado!