making a simple organic salad with edible flowers
Watch Sarah demonstrate how to wash and build a simple homegrown salad with edible flowers.
I'm just going to pop these in to wash them in small bundles, they're not dirty at all, it rained last night but you might get the odd tiny, tiny slug so it's really for that that I'm doing it. Just give them a good wash and then shake a little bit and get rid of that. This little chap, a tiny, tiny, little snail, was in fact in the salad and I know we eat snails but not I'm not absolutely sure you want to eat the the shell as well as the snail!
And then the key thing with any salad, it's really really important, is to get it very, very dry. So what I tend to do is, I never really hammer it because I don't want to bruise the leaves, I'll just empty that twice so that I really get it dry because otherwise the oil and the water don't form a good union and the dressing won't stick to the salad leaves. Ok, so I think that's probably dry enough, not much came off that time.
And so you put together your salad in the same way as we picked it. The lettuce goes in first mixed up with the odd bit of salad leaves, which I tear up otherwise they are almost too big and too chunky, leaving a lot of the stem behind. More of my lettuce salad in and 'Reine de Glace' and then a little of the 'Red Giant' mustard - because wow it's hot so you just don't want whole leaves of that at all, just tear it into little strands, little ribbons, of pepperiness. More lettuce salad in and then we've got a bit of mizuna here, you just put that in including the stems and the flowers because they're really tasty. A bit more crimson.
I haven't got any salad vegetables here but I've got a few herbs. So I've got sorrel, which again I want to leave the midrib behind because that's a bit fibrous, just tear it into strands to give you lovely flavour. As I said a coriander, lovage, chervil, they're all fabulous for that. And then finally just tearing or chopping a few bits of chive over it and that's why I'm not using a salad onion because I've got chives to give you an occasional bite of onions, or onioniness rather. So just mix all that together, colours and flavours and then let's go to my flowers. If you're going to dress it on the plate then you can have a a jug of dressing or if not, dress it before and really stir it around with your hands so you get the dressing properly integrated and then just top dress with the flowers.
So, a finished salad, except for the dressing, and my favourite dressing for that at home that I make more than anything is a tarragon vinegar. I make that in the winter, just loads of tarragon in a jar with white wine vinegar over the top, olive oil, salt and pepper - literally that. And it's about a third tarragon vinegar to 2/3 olive oil.
I also love replacing the tarragon vinegar with lemon juice and you can put lemon zest in it with a zester. Or I really like, if I want a richer, creamier dressing, I would perhaps do some tahini and perhaps some natural yogurt and then thin that with a little bit of lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil. But I would do that more for a kind of nutty salad, perhaps you know with carrots and perhaps pistachios, more that sort of more meaty salad. For a leaf salad I think the French dressings are the best.