Introduction: Rainbow Hors-d'oeuvre for Two - Colourful, Delicious and Highly Nutritious
I wanted most of this to be raw, as it is great produce and very tasty.
I'm using all organic ingredients here and I either grew them or I was given them by friends.
We use a lot of fruit and flowers in salads, so this gave me free reign for some very vibrant colour.
I give basic measurements for the two vinaigrette/dressings we made but as all olive oils are very different, I suggest you taste as you go along for the optimum outcome.
To maximise the nutrient value, it is best to take the shortest time from 'fork to fork', some of these ingredients and in particular the flowers, were eaten within minutes of picking.
Step 1: Making the Rainbow
Tomatoes here this early in the season have not had enough sun on them yet to really develop a full depth of flavour, so I combined raw with oven-dried. To dry, just slice the tomatoes or halve them depending on the size and dry them in a slow oven after sprinkling them with dried herbs (herbes de Provence) and olive oil. This removes most of the moisture and reveals the intense tomato flavour. It is also a great way to store tomatoes in the freezer and bring them out in the Winter to add to salads, pasta dishes and pizza.
Raw carrots grated and then combined with a simple vinaigrette of one part apple cider vinegar to three parts olive oil and a dash of garlic and sea salt. I then added some vibrant orange nasturtium flowers from the garden.
I took a yellow bell pepper, sliced it and sprinkled it with a mustard dressing. This is made from the basic vinaigrette above but omitting the garlic and adding a generous heaped teaspoon of a purchased, prepared whole-grain, 'old-fashioned' mustard. I topped it off with chopped yellow nasturtium flowers.
Step 2: Over the Rainbow
This was a simple two leaf green salad, an iceberg type lettuce which was very crisp and chunky and the delicate fine dark green leaf of the nasturtium. Again I used the simple vinaigrette.
Blueberries are in season here at the moment and they are delicious. I always add some form of fruit to our salad and because this is Normandie, it is often apples. However we also grow many berry fruits in the garden such as raspberries, blackberries and mulberries, which are delicious with vegetables.
Raw beetroot peeled and grated and mixed with mustard vinaigrette. Young smaller beetroot are often best eaten raw and the leaves can be eaten when young too. If you only have larger beetroot you could temper the rather earthier taste by adding an additional amount of mustard.
Violet tipped white asparagus is delicious when simply sautéed quickly in coconut oil or if you prefer butter, until tender. If you have the larger spears then split them in two lengthwise.
RAINBOW COLOURS FOR HEALTH
The rainbow palette of this dish carries within its colours, natural pigments, these have powerful antioxidant properties and amongst which are; lycopene, anthocyanins, lutein, beta-carotene, allicin.. Not only do they have regenerative and curative properties but can help protect against the pollution and toxins which cause both physical and nervous system damage and disease. Yet another reason to have a vibrantly colourful dish - for as the saying goes, we eat first with our eyes....so eat the rainbow!
Hope you will enjoy this dish as much as we did and if you want more recipes and a step-by-step guide to freezing tomatoes, then feel free to visit http://simplyorganicrecipes.blogspot.com
All the very best from Normandie,
Pavlovafowl aka Sue