Roger Fisher's Green Bean Salad

Serves 4

• 1 pound green beans, trimmed and blanched
• 5 Roma tomatoes, chopped
• 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Herbes de Provence blend including rosemary, tarragon, parsley, marjoram flowers, winter savory, lavender, and French thyme
• edible flowers for garnish

Combine blanched green beans, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onion and toss with oil and vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.

Be sure to chop herbs as close to serving time as possible so their volatile oils are at their most pungent.

Garnish salad with flowers.

  Tip: Pick flowers at mid-morning on a warm, dry day after the dew has evaporated and before the heat of the day. If using squash blossoms (any type will do--zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan, winter squash, pumpkin), remove the stamens or pistils, wash gently to remove insects, and pat dry. If using a cluster flower, such as dill or fennel, keep the whole head intact and dip quickly in cool water to rinse, then dry on paper towels.

Roger Fisher's Flower Tempura

Serves 4

• 16 flowers, such as squash blossoms, dill flowers, fennel flowers, and elderberry and acacia blossoms
1 egg yolk
1 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon spice mix (Roger uses his own 16-spice blend, but a mixture of allspice, cinnamon, and crushed fennel seeds to equal 1/2 teaspoon can be substituted)
1 cup flour
peanut oil for deep-frying chutney for dipping (optional)

Prepare flowers (see Tip above).

Combine egg yolk and water.

Mix the spices into the flour and cut the flour mixture into the liquid so that it is still floury and lumpy (a smooth batter is too heavy for a tempura).

Pour peanut oil into a skillet to a depth of about 1 inch and heat over moderately high heat until it is hot (375°F).

Quickly dip the flower into the tempura batter and place it in the hot oil, turning once when golden brown on the bottom to cook the other side.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels on a baking sheet.

These can be held for a short time in a 300°F oven but are best served immediately.


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