The Leftover Queen has once again summoned her courtiers for a Royal Foodie Joust and this time the three ingredients which must be alchemized into something delicious include edible flowers, shallots and setsumas (or other orange citrus). This trio of ingredients has proven once again to be a challenge to the Crispy Cook, especially as it is the middle of an especially harsh and icy winter here in upstate New York and I don't anticipate any flowers to nosh on until at least Mother's Day when my purple and white violets and chive blossoms will bloom in the garden and lawn.
Originally I planned to force some Chinese chives to blossom by planting them in a pitcher of water, which I refreshed daily for a week, until I gave in to the forces of nature (and the ravages of two naughty chive-chomping felines) and realized that they would just dry out and sag before they bloomed. These chives were beautiful specimens from my recent discovery of Lee's Market in Albany, with triangular stems and a garlicky scent and flavor.
I was not sure that a bunch of wizened chive buds would qualify as flower, so I ransacked the Crispy Cupboards to see what other floral edibles might be lurking about, and then I spied a bottle of rosewater which I had purchased recently and figured I could put together a perfumed salad of greens, chopped chives (and withered blossoms!), orange sections and rosewater vinaigrette. It was quick and easy and I thought it was really savory. My husband was less impressed with having a salad that smelled like a rosebush, but I thought it was delightful and somewhat Middle Eastern.
Here, then, I present to you and my Queen, an elegant salad, with literary tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. for extra delectability:
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Salad
2 cups romaine lettuce, washed, dried and sliced
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 orange, peeled and pith removed, and sliced into chunks
2 Tbsp. dried cranberries or Craisins
1/4 cup snipped Chinese Chives and withered blossoms
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly and separated into rings
1/2 cup light vegetable oil (don't use olive oil or other strong-flavored oil as this will dilute the perfume of the rosewater)
1/4 cup rosewater
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Arrange romaine on salad plates. Adorn with mushrooms, oranges, dried cranberries shallots and chives.
Blend together dressing ingredients and sprinkle over salad. Remaining dressing should be capped to retain rosewater perfume. It was delightful over cooked rice the next day for a quick salad.
Makes 2 salads.
Do check back with the Leftover Queen at the end of the month to see what other edible flowers will grace the Royal Table.