Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Beet Salad with Herb Flowers – Recipe

Salad of goat cheese, asparagus and beet

I’ve been inspired by Linda’s use of edible flowers, and I realized that I have both chive and rosemary blossoms in my garden right now. The chive flowers are those purple puffballs, with an oniony flavor similar to the familiar herb. The rosemary petals are much smaller, and lighter purple but if you look closely there is one on the frontmost stalk of asparagus.

I’ve also been wanting to play with very thinly sliced vegetables. Thin slices create a textural surprise, allowing you to experience a familiar ingredient in a different way. Last year I made a salad with raw white asparagus shaved with a vegetable peeler. For today’s version used my inexpensive Benriner mandoline.

I recently bought this kevlar glove from Microplane which makes the mandoline a lot safer to use. I don’t think I could have done the asparagus so nicely without it. If you don’t have those tools, you could certainly make the same dish with a sharp knife, you probably just wouldn’t be able to get such even slices. But it would still look and taste delicious.

Goat cheese seemed a natural to pair with the asparagus and beets. If you have a very special chevre, you might want to leave it unmanipulated. This one was good, but I opted to roll it in toasted sesame and fennel seeds for a little additional interest.

Time permitting, I would have liked to serve a bit of a very rich, lemony hollandaise, but for today I added lemon zest and juice to storebought mayonnaise to make the sauce, along with a few drops of good balsamic.

Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Beet Salad
Serves 4
Vegetarian and gluten-free; not vegan

  • 2 medium golden beets
  • 4 thick spears of asparagus, very thinly sliced (see note above)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (chevre), rolled into 4 balls and allowed to warm up to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • very finely cut zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 chive blossoms
  • 1 tablespoon minced chive
  • 12 rosemary blossoms
  • flaky sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • aceto balsamico
  1. Boil the beets in salted water until tender. Remove with Cool in cold water. Peel. Slice to the same thickness as the asparagus. Optionally, use a circle cutter to make 12 uniform pieces.
  2. In the same pot of water, boil the sliced asparagus for two minutes. Drop into ice water to retain the green color.
  3. Roll the balls of goat cheese in a mixture of the sesame and fennel seeds.
  4. Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon zest with a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth. Adjust consistency until thin enough to drizzle.
  5. To serve, place 3 slices of beet and 3 slices of asparagus on each plate. Brush the vegetables with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle the lemon sauce and add a few drops of balsamic vinegar (use a medicine dropper or the tip of a chopstick). Add one goat cheese ball to each plate. Garnish with the chive, chive blossoms, rosemary flowers and a few flakes of salt.

Soft Goat Cheese on Foodista

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, May 18th, 2009 in Recipes, Salads.

9 Responses to “Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Beet Salad with Herb Flowers – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    May 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Beautiful presentation! I have to get that glove.

  2. Reply
    May 18, 2009 at 9:05 pm #

    My goodness this is gorgeous. When are you going to open your own restaurant? I know that there are many many vegetarians who would love to experience your thoughtfully crafted and brilliantly executed dishes.

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 19, 2009 at 7:38 am #

    Thanks Roopa! I do hope to open a restaurant someday 🙂

  4. Reply
    May 19, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    Beautifully presented dish! How do you know what flowers are edible – where do you find them?

  5. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 19, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Thanks Hillary! Here is an excellent reference page for edible flowers: link to whatscookingamerica.net . Of course you should always cross-check to be sure you are comfortable.

  6. Reply
    May 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    This sounds wonderful on top on getting extra points for being beautiful! I too, have tons of chive and rosemary flowers. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to use those. Duh. I use them in pictures all the time, why not in food? Just call me lighting. Thank you.
    Dana Zia

  7. Reply
    June 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm #

    Ooo, I love hollandaise!
    I know the flowers are edible but did you REALLY eat them? What do they tatse like?

  8. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    June 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm #

    The chive flowers taste oniony, very nice. Since I originally made this dish, I've discovered that I like them better if you break them down into the individual flowerlets – the whole flower is a bit too much of a puffball in the mouth but the little bits are great.

  9. Reply
    June 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm #

    Now that is beautiful! Useful link too on edible flowers, great post!

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