Friday, October 28, 2011

Nasturtium Buds and Blossoms - Yum!

Nasturtium blossoms and buds, like violets, add a delicate and piquant flavor to salads. I grow them for their beauty and forget to use them for food – so when it started to snow yesterday afternoon I rushed out into the front patio to harvest the autumn array of nasturtium blossoms and buds. The red and orange flowers with their chic flat leaves were being crushed by the heavy wet snowflakes. The resulting harvest, captured in a bowl indoors, was small but very beautiful. I ate one or two blossoms right away – their crunchy peppery flavor is similar to true watercress (be careful where you harvest watercress – the water it thrives in may be polluted. It’s best to go for market-grown cress, unless you really know the water source).
I read years ago that nasturtium buds can be prepared and used like capers. I am a caper fanatic, pardon me while I switch to my favorite spelling, capar – but their high price and excess saltiness can put off even this extreme saltaholic. As you can see in the photo, I put the buds in a wee bowl with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Go ahead and add salt – I did not.
I placed a covering over the blossoms and marinating buds and refrigerated overnight. This morning the blossoms were still crisp, ready to glamorize the salad that I will have tonight – and the buds are succulent, subtle microcosms of a good salad – they burst and melt in the mouth.

(Those are post-blossom seed pods in the lower left of the photo.)

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