Cooking

What's for Dinner: Let's Get Floral

Add garlic flowers, geraniums and elderflower to your plate
Garlic Panna Cotta with Tomato Soup
Photo: Tasting Table

Not feeling inspired by your usual dishes? Here's what's for dinner.

It's springtime, and gardens are bursting with flowers. But why be content to merely look at them when you can eat them instead? We're not advocating going to town on a flowerpot, but many types of flowers can be used to cook and garnish food. Match your dinner table's centerpiece tonight with a floral-leaning meal of panna cotta, scallops and blancmange.

① Appetizer: Garlic Panna Cotta with Tomato Soup
No, this isn't a typo—David Kinch takes the classic Italian dessert and turns it into a savory custard with a garlicky kick and mild tomato soup. The optional addition of beautiful purple-blooming garlic flowers to finish adds another layer of unexpected flavor.

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② Main Course: Scallops with Fresh Herbs, Pine, Grapefruit and Geranium
You don't have to take a trip to an herb farm to load up on ingredients; chef Matt Lightner has done that for you. Flash-seared scallops pair with a floral-infused grapefruit salad to make for one botanical bite. And don't worry about the long refrigeration time—you can marinate for less and still get amazing flavor.

③ Dessert: Blancmange with Grapefruit, Jicama and Elderflower
Made from the flower of the elderberry plant, elderflower liqueur tastes like you fell with your mouth open into a bed of sweet flowers. Though it's most often found in cocktails, we love it in this pudding-esque dessert. Tart citrus counters its sweetness.

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