Real summer food is decorated with summer flowers. I got to spend some time with my sister recently, the first chance we’d had for some proper twin time in months. So, I took her to my new favourite place. In the city centre, near the water front there are now four little gardens all next to each other. A science garden, healing garden, literary garden and an edible garden. This is all part of an incredible project happening in Dundee right now, Dundee Urban Orchard.
The healing garden is filled to the brim with the most beautiful, fragrant lavender it was difficult to believe we were surrounded by busy roads. As we were leaving I picked a few nasturtium and chives for dinner from the edible garden. Bright floral salads scream summer.
If you’ve never eaten flowers I guess it can be a little odd. It’s not very common in our western diet to pick flowers and eat them, you may not know which flowers are edible and the first time I ate a flower I found it a little upsetting because it was so beautiful (I got over that quite quickly because they taste just as lovely as they look and mother earth has provided us with all manner of gorgeous plants to eat; flowers included).
I knew the nasturtium would add a vibrant pop of colour to any dish but decided that the potato salad with herb dressing I’ve been making on repeat would be a good choice to add it to. This salad can easily be adapted to whatever you are in the mood for. In the recipe below I’ve added cooked courgette, green beans and asparagus but if you fancied some raw, crunchy vegetables in there instead then some radish, sugar snap peas and grated carrot would work just as well (seriously, I’ve tried a lot of variations on this salad recently and can’t get enough).
I really can’t stop with this dressing. It is so good here but also on pretty much any other salad I’ve thrown it on top on. Dill seems like a very underrated herb for some reason but I’m all for it! I love dill. For me, it works so well in spring/summer dishes. I also just keep adding it into any toast or sandwich situation I have going on and love the extra burst of freshness it brings. There’s four fresh herbs happening in this recipe and I love each one of them. I remember my Gran and Grandad having chives growing in their garden when I was little. My sister and I would just pick them straight from the dirt and shove them in our mouths. Things haven’t changed much I guess.
Note that I have used fresh herbs in this recipe because I have them all readily available to me but if dried herbs are what you have on hand then substitute them in, they will still work really well!
Potato Salad with Warm Vegetables & Herb Dressing
For the salad
2-3 handfuls baby potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, un-peeled
several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups fresh vegetables (here I used courgette, asparagus and green beans)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 180C. On a sheet tray spread out the potatoes, garlic and thyme, drizzle the olive oil and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes (until potatoes are starting to golden and crisp). Once cooked, set aside until cool enough to touch. Remove the thyme. Tear the garlic skin open and squeeze the contents (it should be like a puree) onto the potatoes and rub until covered as evenly as possible.
In a pan, add the olive oil, courgette, asparagus and green beans. Cook until tender but not overly soft, roughly 10 minutes or until the asparagus and green beans have turned bright green. Add the lemon juice and mix.
For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each – fresh dill, mint and chives, rinsed and finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and vegetables. Toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve warm and top with nasturtium flowers.