Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Borage in Soup and Salad

Borage is a flowering herb that originated in Syria. A big plus for me are its beautiful edible flowers, with which I'd be happy to garnish just about anything. They just keep blooming and blooming just like the borage plant keeps growing and growing, as mine did at the expense of our garden's rosemary patch and its two varieties of parsley.

If you check out the picture at right closely enough, you'll see at bottom center what little rosemary remains visible. Look yet more closely at bottom right and bottom left, and the respective remnants of our Italian and curly leaf parsley plants are marginally discernable. When planting these herbs in May, I had no idea that the borage would crowd so much out. Anyhow, Unique Culinary Adventures doesn't claim to be about gardening.

Our first culinary encounter with the plant was to harvest a quarter cup of its leaves as called for to make the "Borage Cucumbers" recipe from the web site. It proved to be a worthy rendition of a first rate "cucumbers and sour cream" recipe. The flavor is subtly brought up by the presence of finely chopped borage leaves, which themselves have a flavor profile reminiscent of cucumber.

It could be my fault, but the web site's borage soup recipe proved less successful. Expecting something like a cucumber vichyssoise with perhaps a kiss of honey from the flowers, the flavor reminded me more of dill or sorrel, neither of which are favorites. It's possible that I erred by including buds interchangeably amongst the "fresh edible flowers" and young leaves called for in the recipe. I've been back to the garden to compare, and suspect that indeed those buds could pack more flavor than the flowers, perhaps to the point of excess. I'm not going to make the soup again, but to anyone who tries it, my recommendation is to leave the buds alone.