Putting the bite on flower power

The most satisfying rewards of organic gardening are often experienced at the kitchen table. After that first bite into a just-picked tomato or lettuce leaf, it's easy to become a convert.

From a doyenne of edible, organic gardening, Rosalind Creasy, comes this special-occasion salad:

Riot of Color Salad

For the dressing:

1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 tablespoon honey (clover or wildflower is preferred)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

1 small head romaine

1 head butter lettuce

1 small head frise

4 to 6 young leaves of yellow chard (optional)

A dozen or so edible flowers such as yellow and blue violas, purple pansies, nasturtiums, yellow calendulas, or red dianthus

The dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sunflower oil, and honey; add salt and pepper to taste; and set aside.

The salad:

Tear the romaine, butter, and frise lettuces, and the yellow chard leaves in bite-sized pieces and arrange on a large platter. Remove the petals from some of the flowers and leave some whole. Sprinkle on the flower petals and garnish with whole blossoms. Bring the salad to the table and let diners dress their own salads.

Serves 6.

- Adapted from 'The Edible Salad Garden' (Periplus)

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