When I visited my Pop, he was pruning some old roses. At least one rose had died completely. I was quick to grab the wood, because it’s beautiful for crafting, and very difficult to get in large pieces. But I also figured the smaller offcuts would be good for smoking. No one seemed to know if it were a good idea, so we gave it a go. I cured two chicken breasts in a tablespoon each of lavender flowers and dried rose petals, half a teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. I rinsed off the curing mix before smoking them at 90oC above the rosewood. They turned out beautifully. I wanted to use them in a spring time salad that could pay tribute to the floral input.
At market this morning, I was delighted to see Windellama Organics selling punnets of beautifully fragrant rose petals. They also had some very pretty purple and green mizuna bunches. I hadn’t eaten mizuna before, but upon testing, I discovered it had a lovely mild mustard flavour. This particular type had very delicate foliage. I thought it would be perfect for this salad. I had been saving the last of my goat feta in pesto from Leaning Oaks, just for this occasion. The repertoire was complete when I found some red carrots Dilliro Vegetables. I had some other edible flowers in the fridge and the garden; and a purple carrot and a few new season potatoes in the pantry.
I think this salad was absolutely perfect as is, but you could easily make it with a few substitute ingredients. You can buy smoked chicken breast, but you must use lemon infused oil of some description to crisp the skin. I think the macadamia oil was great, but I see no reason why you couldn’t use olive oil. You can use orange carrots, and/or add diced beetroot for the purple colour. I understand not all mizuna is as lovely as the bunch I have. You could substitute it with another mildly mustard flavoured green.
|1||smoked chicken breast|
|2||teaspoons||lemon infused macadamia oil|
|1||tablespoon||potato, cut into cubes of various sizes|
|1||tablespoon||purple carrot, cut into cubes of various sizes|
|1||tablespoon||red carrot, cut into cubes of various sizes|
|1||tablespoon||goat feta in pesto, cut into cubes of various sizes|
|2||teaspoons||assorted edible flowers (including rose petals, calendula petals, thyme and chive flowers, heartseas)|
Cook the red carrot cubes in a little water with the honey. When tender, remove the red carrots and add the purple carrots. When they too are tender, drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, cook the potato cubes, drain and allow to cool.
In a small frying pan, heat the lemon oil and fry the chicken breast skin side down to crisp the skin. When the skin has a little colour on it, turn the heat off and allow the chicken to rest.
Arrange the mizuna leaves on one half of a large dinner plate. On the other half, arrange some of the cubes of carrot, potato and cheese, with the large cubes at one end of the plate, and the smaller cubes at the other. Pile any cubes that can’t be arranged nicely here, atop the mizuna leaves. Arrange the flowers around the cubes, pairing the larger flowers with the larger cubes, and smaller flowers or petals with the smaller cubes. Arrange the chicken breast atop the mizuna, using the vegetable cubes to prop it up nicely.