Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
I love naturally pretty food. Colorful. Seasonal. Bursting with flavor. I love pretty food. I also happen to really like food that tastes amazing, so a merging of the pretty and tastes great is like the venn diagram of food joy. Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers is the unification of enticing and delectable. It’s the seasonal fresh strawberries matched with the beauty of the edible flowers that makes this salad so wonderful.
How I came up with Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
I’m a fan of seasonal foods. They taste the best and are easiest to find in stores. Every time the seasons change I do searches for the latest and greatest seasonal recipes. This year I did a deep dive into The Food Network and found a goldmine.
The Strawberry-Endive Salad with Edible Flowers from Food Network grabbed my attention because of it’s beautiful color and seasonal ingredients. I really thought this was going to be a painless endeavor.
Making Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
My first goal was getting all the ingredients for the salad together. No more Instacart orders for me.
I was going to be prepared.
ADHD and all.
The Field Trip to Restaurant Depot
I figured that all the ingredients for Strawberry-Endive Salad with Edible Flowers should be easily accessible at a store like Whole Foods. Right?
But this time, the risk management part of my engineering background called out to me and I actually made phone calls to the local stores to see if there were edible flowers as well as the other ingredients in stock.
Brilliant. I know.
The best laid plans…
Of course Whole Foods was completely out of stock of edible flowers and Red Belgian Endives.
Seriously. Because having everything easily accessible would just be too easy.
I went online to Instacart to see if any stores could deliver those ingredients.
I finally was able to find everything I needed at Restaurant Depot.
Which annoyed me to no end. I realize that not everyone has access to their local Resturant Depot. There may not even be a local Restaurant Depot.
I really try to create/develop recipes that look and taste fabulous but have fairly accessible ingredients.
(Don’t worry…I work it out for you in the end).
Back to Restaurant Depot and Fresh Market…
I was able to find just about everything at Restaurant Depot except the Red Endive. I bought a huge bag of red leaf lettuce and two different packages of edible flowers. But…no red endive.
I felt that was an important part of the recipe. If you look at the original photo, it’s super red. Red strawberries, red endive, red leaf lettuce…you get the picture.
I was starting to get a bad feeling about this…
The Field Trip to Fresh Market
Of course Fresh Market was completely out of endive. Any kind of endive.
This was fast becoming a nightmare.
Ordering Endive from Instacart
It was obvious that there was absolutely no red endive anywhere in the whole Chicago area.
The city was out to get me.
I decided to punt and placed an evening order on Instacart from Mariano’s for regular green endive plus a few more staples. Then I went to bed knowing that either Dear Husband would bring the bags in when they arrived, or they’d sit on my porch all night and we’d bring them in in the morning.
And then reality hit
Of course the groceries never arrived.
I contacted Instacart, and they were all apologetic and redid the order. So I waited for it.
And it actually came. Not everything, because of course some of the items were now out of stock, but my green endives came.
So I set out to make the salad.
Putting together the Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
I decided to use green endives instead of the red, but with that exception I was good to go with the rest of the original recipe ingredients or good substitutions.
Washing the produce for the Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
The operative word here is “garden”. Aside from produce what is the first word that comes to mind when you hear garden?
It took forever to get the Restaurant Depot red leaf lettuce clean and free of bugs. I also soaked the strawberries in salt water to get out any small bugs that might be taking a break inside the nooks and crannies.
And then my salad spinner broke.
I ended up drying the lettuce with multiple towels. It wasn’t a pretty situation and I didn’t feel like I had sufficiently dried the red leaf lettuce, but at that point I punted.
It turns out that in order to properly wash edible flowers, you don’t actually soak them or put them under running water, you swish them in water with veggie wash and then put them in a collander to dry. Surprisingly, it didn’t take as long as I thought it would.
Finally (it all took around half an hour) all the produce was washed.
Time to make the Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers
The original salad recipe has you whisk the dressing on the bottom of the salad bowl and then toss the salad directly on top of the dressing, coating all the salad ingredients with the vinaigrette.
Don’t do it.
What happens is that the very delicate red leaf lettuce immediately becomes one with the dressing, soaking the fragile leaves which take around a nanosecond to become soft. I strongly recommend making the dressing and then very gently tossing it with the salad right before serving.
Adding the flowers to the Garden Salad with Strawberries & Edible Flowers: first pass
I didn’t love how the green endive looked, but I figured it would still be beautiful topped with the edible flowers. Sadly, the salad didn’t have the gorgeous red coloring that the original Strawberry-Endive Salad with Edible Flowers from Food Network did. It just didn’t look right. I suspect that the recipe was slightly modified for the photo but I would never say that out loud 😉 .
So I started putting the edible flowers on top of the salad. I thought it was beautiful.
Dear Social media guy didn’t love the way it looked and said:
“Looks like someone vomitted a bouquet.”
So…tell me what you really think.
I was still determined so I took off more flowers and then swapped the type of flowers.
Dear Social Media Guys reaction: “Looks like vegetation.”