Now that it’s almost summer, outdoor flora are busting out all over (anyone else have particularly bad seasonal allergies this year?) and N.’s bedroom garden experiment is beginning to take off. Which means that we’ve been treated to some pretty eclectic salads over the past few days.
Here you see various salad greens, young grape leaves, mint, clover and chive flowers, and the first strawberry of the season. This salad was pretty tasty, but the flavors were a little overpowering: looking forward to more lettuce in the mix once it grows. I’m also going to recommend not throwing mint in with the chive flowers: learn from our mistakes, people! But also learn that chive flowers are edible, tasty, and will give you “chive power.”
I’ve gotten my hands on some of my grandpa’s manuscripts. He used to write a travel column and also put together a book based on growing up with my great grandmother, a Southern bon vivant and larger than life character. In one chapter he flies with some fraternity buddies to West Virginia in a small aircraft (long story) and there encounters ramps.
“Them’s ramps,” the counterman explained, producing a small bunch of large, dark colored spring onions. “Everybody these parts eats ramps in the springtims. Eats ’em raw or cooks ’em. They’re great fried, boiled, or coals-seared on a picnic. Once you eat a ramp, you never forget it. Ramps’ll stay with you. Eat ramps, an’ you get ramp power!”
My grandpa sent a box of these ramps back to his mother, who included them in one of her famous salads after a few cocktails and apparently lost a few friends to the unexpected “ramp power.”
Anyway, be warned. Chive flowers give you chive power. And I don’t think vampires mind chives, but like garlic they are of the allium family after all, so maybe you’d be able to annoy a vampire a little bit with your chive power, and it may after all be a useful power to have.
We enjoyed this salad on the side of a potato pizza, which is easy to throw together as long as you have a few hours’ lead time on the crust. I used a crust recipe from the yellow Gourmet cookbook, which doesn’t seem to be on the internet (prove me wrong!) but most pizza crust recipes I’ve tried work fine as long as your oven is searingly hot, which is inconvenient on a summer day but worth it when you get to chow down on a slice covered in paper-thin potato slices and garlicky oil.
And from the season’s first strawberry we’ve come to a point where we’re pulling in about a pound a day, which means I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and making some real jam soon.