Last month on a tour of the Medieval Gardens At The Cloisters, the uptown branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the docent paused in the herb garden to tell us of the Medieval cooks ‘ love of salats. That is salad to us. Many herbs , flowers, greens were used. Lettuce was not always the main ingredient. Bitter greens were popular, probably for their digestive properties .Foodstuffs in that era were sometimes “past their prime” .It made me think of beef and my garden. We age beef , not rot beef , so the adding a bitter quality to our meals is not important . I had just been looking at The Unicorn Tapestries. I realised that I could recreate a tapestry of flora from my garden.Thus this “Salat” was born.
Beef and Flora Salat
Grill a thick sirloin steak to desired doneness
While the steak is resting on a platter go forth into the garden
This is what I gathered from my garden: tarragon, parsley and parsley flowers, celery, basil and basil flowers ; lemon, purple,Thai, variegated, and lettuce leaf varieties, chives, nasturtium leaves and flowers, Cherry Chief sage flowers, dill and dill seeds, fennel fronds and flowers, arugula flowers,marigolds,pineapple sage, lemon balm, chocolate mint,string bean flowers, shiso, mustard green flowers and hyssop flowers.
Any combination of herbs and edible flowers can be used. Wash, dry, pluck, destem, and chop as desired.
Slice steak thinly. Make layers of steak ,salat. Dribble each layer with olive oil . The last layer should be salat and oil saving the most colorful elements for this tier. Serve untossed.