Thursday is May Day! Aren’t you excited? Despite having no maypole and no festivities to attend, I’m actually quite fond of the concept of May Day, or Beltane if you prefer. Unlike the other cross-quarter days, Beltane wasn’t revised as a Christian holiday. Medieval churchmen complained about it, but “the May”, as it was then known, went on. Today, you can still see maypoles, May Queens, and lots of Morris Dancing in various towns in England but many of the festivities are actually twentieth-century revivals, not annual events stretching back to the dawn of history. Not that I’m complaining–any excuse for a party, right?
Flowers are an enormous part of celebrating May Day, so I thought I would make a recipe with actual flowers for the occasion. At first, I thought about making a cake with violet syrup and candied violets, but I wasn’t really in the mood for cake. (No, this doesn’t happen often; I had been eating birthday cake leftovers.) So, I did a google search and found a salad with flowers in it. You can use any edible flowers, like the pansies and violas in the photo below, or my favorite, marigold. It may take some experimenting to find what you like. I think violas taste like old magazine pages, but marigold has a delicious savory minty flavor. Edible flowers can be found with the herbs at the supermarket.
May Queen Salad
3 ounces (75g) watercress leaves (from about 1 pound of plants)
4 ounces (100g) shelled peas (or defrosted frozen peas)
3 ounces slivered almonds (75g), lightly toasted in a dry pan over medium heat then cooled completely
1/4 ounce (7g) edible flowers
Toss together the watercress, peas, and almonds in a large bowl. Dress with sherry vinaigrette (below) and top with edible flowers.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Shake or whisk together all ingredients.
Adapted from “Watercress, Pea, and Almond Salad” in delicious. magazine.
P.S. Go check out my mom’s blog. She’s made an adorable May Day party favor! Plus, for you crafty types, there’s this adorable free downloadable image: