To all of you food lovers and gardeners out there who enjoy a pretty plate and yard, this is one of the best tips I’ve ever received: Plant nasturtium seeds. A green thumb, patience, full sun or even a yard is not a requisite for having edible, lovely garnishes from early summer into fall. I sowed various varieties of nasturtiums in pots, planters and into the ground last April. By late May the profusion of colorful flowers began and will remain in full throttle through October. That’s five months of beautiful flowers and edible garnishes.
Packages of nasturtium seeds run about $2.00-$3.49 each. This year I planted about 8 packages and the charming flowers are everywhere. It’s so easy to plant them from seeds, and perfect for a children’s garden as the results can be observed within a month. Nasturtiums have a peppery, radish-like flavor and are a wonderful addition to salads.
This chicken salad exudes easy elegance. Though mayonnaise-based, it’s lightly dressed and the subtle flavor of earthy walnut reminds me that fall is in the air. Some girlfriends are coming for dinner (Richard is banished from the house), and I’m serving this salad with crunchy baguettes, nectarines, locally made Boulevard triple cream cheese and creamy Zingerman’s goat cheese. Both of these cheeses are available for purchase at the Farmers Market. I always serve cheese at room temperature, removing it from the fridge several hours before serving.
Don’t fret if you aren’t growing nasturtiums. Serve the salad atop red leaf lettuce and the plate will be lovely. (I’ll remind you next April to purchase your nasturtium seeds!)