CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GILLOTTI
Our garden is overflowing with lettuce, so I brought salad to a recent barbecue. People suspiciously eyed the flowers on top, but this salad was a hit! Expressions of doubt were replaced with delight, thanks to the edible nasturtium (ナスタチウム) flower.
Nasturtium imparts a spicy flavor to a dish, similar to watercress. It best complements a sweet lettuce, and contrasts nicely with the bright citrus notes of yuzu (ゆず).Let’s get real though, nasturtiums are here to look pretty; they make salad sexy.
Yuzu is a fruit local to Japan, and sometimes difficult to find outside of Asia. The flavor to me is like combining a lemon with a mandarin.
I find it better as a sour ingredient, rather than eaten whole. The zest is especially flavorful.
For the salad:
- 4 chopped shiso leaves (シソ)
- 2 heads of lettuce
- 1 chopped myoga (みょうが)
- 1 carrot julienned (use a mandolin if you have it)
- ½ cup of nasturtium flowers
Yuzu Sesame Dressing
- Juice and peel from 2 yuzu fruits
- ½ tsp fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seed
- 1 tsp mirin (みりん)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mayo
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp water
- Pinch of salt
- Pepper to taste
Throw all of the yuzu dressing ingredients into a food processor to blend. Toss with the first four salad ingredients and top with nasturtium.
Where did you buy the yuzu and nasturtium? I’ve looked all around the island for yuzu, but haven’t been able to find it. Would love to find the nasturtium too. Did they also have nasturtium leaves?
I know that Kelly does a majority of her shopping at farmers’ markets and Japanese grocery stores. Nasturtium are found at JA markets, primarily in the spring, and usually the packages come with one or two leaves. They usually run about Y100 for about a “fluffy” cup worth.
Yuzu are seasonal and are usually found in early spring. I have always found them at San A most frequently.