Edible flowers are so darn pretty, it is easy to use them to garnish the plate and call it good. No complaints. But for this challenge I wanted to incorporate the flowers into my dishes so as to marry the flavors and colors, to create a synergy where all the elements of the dish are enhanced.
Lemon trees and rose bushes thrive side-by-side in the garden. The colors yellow and pink make a delightful pair. And the aromas of citrus plus floral make for a heady perfume. And so Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto was born. A hint of rose water plus a chiffonade of “passionate kisses” rose petals transform this creamy citrus risotto into a blissful dish.
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. finely diced shallot
1/2 c. pinot grigio
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
4 c. chicken broth + 1 1/2 c. water
1/3 c. parmesan + more for garnish
1/2 c. mascarpone cheese
1 meyer lemon (zest and juice)
3/4 t. rose water
edible rose petals, chiffonade
salt to taste
Bring chicken broth plus water to a simmer. (I use diluted broth to give flavor, but not overpower the delicate citrus and rose aromas). Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook until a light golden color. Add rice and stir to coat all the grains. Add wine and cook until almost completely evaporated. Then turn down the heat and add the broth, one ladle at a time, constantly stirring as the rice absorbs the liquid.
When the rice is creamy and al dente, remove from heat. Fold in the cheeses. Then fold in the lemon zest and juice, reserving some zest for garnish. Finish by adding the rose water. The rose water element should be very subtle.
Passionate Kisses Floribunda Rose
All roses are not equally suitable for garnish. Look for roses with a strong fragrance. And as always, make sure the roses are edible, not treated with chemicals, and eat only in moderation.
Ciao Fiore! Garden Table
This Thursday come experience Ciao Fiore! An enchanting outdoor ristorante on the Mediterranean Coast featuring alfresco dining in an ambrosial flower garden. Chefs Norma from Platanos, Mangoes & Me!, Debi from Table Talk, and Lori Lynn from Taste With The Eyes meet in the virtual Italian cucina to create a captivating five-star three-course meal enhanced with edible flowers and herbs dal giardino.
Meyer Lemon & Pink Rose Petal Risotto is the first of two courses I have prepared for the menu at Ciao Fiore! Please stop by Taste With The Eyes tomorrow for Pan-Seared Branzino, Cucumber Salmoriglio with Borage Blossoms. Beautiful borage flowers have a mild cucumber-y taste, which is mirrored by the salmoriglio sauce. Their striking blue color adds stark contrast to the other colors in this vibrant dish. A must see.
Update: The Pan-Seared Branzino is now posted here.
Ciao Fiore! is a Virtual Restaurant
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group “Restaurant Wars” Competition
Update: Now view the entire restaurant, the fabulous dishes,
plus the lovely seaside terrace and gardens here!