Here’s a riddle: What is bright, colorful, peppery, high in vitamin C, and abounds in most September gardens? It’s the lovely nasturtium of course!
This plant was known in Europe in earlier days as Capucine Cress due to the resemblance of the flower to a monk’s hooded robe. The plant thrived in gardens primarily as a salad herb with medicinal values. Often the delicate bud was used as a substitute for capers. I have long loved it in a salad…flowers, buds, leaves, and all…but I also enjoy the beauty of the flowers and buds in a simple compound butter. There is nothing like a coin of this peppery delight melting slowly on a piece of grilled fish or steak.
Preparing a Nasturtium Compound Butter is as simple as this:
Nasturtium and Pink Peppercorn Butter
recipe and images by Laura Cabot, Laura Cabot Catering, Waldoboro
Soften a pound of butter to room temperature.
Gather two cups of fresh nasturtium flowers and buds. Check for insects and discard any. Chop medium fine by hand. An assortment of colors is a visual feast.
Freshly grind 1 Tablespoon of pink peppercorns.
Combine all and mix thoroughly with a spatula.
Roll into a log using waxed paper and place in freezer. When hardened, double wrap in plastic and you’ll have a late summer delight at the ready for several months. Just slice off a coin or two when the halibut or rib eye is coming off the grill and watch eyes widen around the dinner table.
Laura Cabot is an MF&L columnist and blogger, a French trained chef with a long career as a chef/restaurant owner, and president of Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro.