Nasturtium, which is Latin for "nose-twister,” is a very common, very colorful ground cover that, as you’ll see in today’s video recipe clip, is a great addition to a green salad. By the way, I got the "nose-twister” translation from Wikipedia, but it didn’t say why or how it got that name. So, all you gardeners out there, if you know PLEASE tell me why, it’s driving me crazy. Speaking of crazy, no, you don’t have to be crazy to put flowers on a salad. As long as they are there for flavor AND color you are culinarily correct to do so. It’s hard to think of another flower whose petals are as intensely colored as the Nasturtium. It actually makes filming and photographing them quite a challenge (at least that’s my excuse).
Culinary students are always reminded by their Chefs to never add things to plates solely for cosmetic reasons. Ideally, everything on a plate should add both flavor and visual appeal to the dish. Nasturtium petals meet both goals; they’re incredibly beautiful as I have already stated, AND have a subtle, delicious flavor. It’s a slightly peppery taste similar to a mild Watercress. Many grocery stores have these flowers in the herb section during the summer and you can always find them at any farmers market.
By the way, since we are talking salads in today’s post, in my next recipe clip I’m going to show you what I consider to be the best “all purpose” oil and vinegar-style salad dressing. It’s a simple Sherry vinaigrette I leaned ages ago, and it’s my all-time favorite, and soon, maybe yours. Stay tuned. Anyway, take a walk around the backyard, or the neighbor’s garden, and find some Nasturtium (it shouldn’t be too hard) and make that plain old mixed green salad explode with color and flavor. Enjoy!