I’d had my eye on this recipe for the best part of a year, since seeing a local wall festooned with nasturtium flowers last summer. I’d read about them being edible with a slightly peppery taste and thought that they would pair beautifully with goat’s cheese. For weeks I staked the house out, wondering if I could just nab half a dozen or if they’d think I was a lunatic if I knocked on the door and asked for a bunch. And then, the season was over, the moment passed. So this spring I bought a packet, sowed them and waited for them to do their thing.
There isn’t really a recipe as such for this. I grew the salad leaves too, from one of those ‘chuck them in a pot, idiot gardener, and in just three weeks you’ll have salad’. I’d love to claim that I grew the tomatoes too but I didn’t, I saw them in Lidl and thought they were really pretty. The goat’s cheese is called Kidderton Ash and is made by Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in Preston, Lancashire; they also make Blacksticks Blue. The cheeses are taken from their ash-lined moulds and dipped in brine and then penicillium to create a white mould coating that blooms through the ash. The cheese comes in a log shape but I grilled slices gently on foil until bubbling and then transferred them to the salad. A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil finishes the job.
I have to admit I was apprehensive about tasting the nasturtiums. Although I knew they were edible, they had a strong smell that triggered my human ‘do not eat it, it will kill you’ instincts. In actual fact, they weren’t that strong at all, just slightly peppery but nowhere near as pungent as even shop-bought rocket. They did pair well with the cheese though, especially when wrapped up with a pine nut or two.