Busy Bites: My pita stuffed with a parsley and chrysanthemum salad.
Some days call for a light and quick snack. Something to nourish you well. Something that’s not only tasty, but ever so light. My pita stuffed with a parsley and chrysanthemum salad is surprisingly delicious. Strong bold flavours combined with a soft and smooth sauce, served in a warm pocket of bread, is exactly what I crave for as a late summer day’s lunch. This dish gives you the opportunity to experiment with great flavours, to be bold and adventurous. And really, isn’t that all you expect a good bite to do for you? Especially one done in under ten minutes.
Food is a challenge. Every single day. There are so many new ingredients that wait for us to taste them. And so little time to catch them all. When shopping for food I like to buy things I have never eaten before. Things I know nothing about. Spices from far away lands, I have never heard of. Greens I don’t know the name of. Exotic fruits and the smelliest cheeses. I love the excitement of approaching a new-found ingredient. And I enjoy the confusion and uncertainty of not knowing what to do with it. When I spotted Hong To, a leafy green with an intense scent, I wondered what it might be used for. Like it mattered. The first bite of Hong To was intense. Almost peppery. A bit like you would imagine radish-leaves to taste like (eventhough they don’t). It was a nice taste, a bit strong maybe, so nothing to eat just on it’s own. But stuffed inside a nice warm bun, together with equally aromatic herbs and a smooth and soft sauce, it would make for a perfect dish. Right after having tried this week’s dish for the first time, I had a look around the internet. And I was dumbfounded. Hong To, the peppery almost musky leaf, turned out to be chrysanthemum. Now, that might not mean much to most of you. But being the son of a gardener in third generation and a florist, I know my way around the flowerbed. And that’s where chrysanthemum belongs, in the patch rather than on the plate. So there I was, sitting in front of my laptop. Taking another bite of a garden plant. But suddenly something had changed. Now the peppery, musky leaf tasted decidedly floral. Just the knowledge of the “true” name, the true nature of the green, if you will, changed the way Hong To tasted. What I had described, in lack of a better term, as peppery muskiness became an intense floral note.
My pita bread with a salad of parsley and chrysanthemum is a fast snack. A bit of iceberg salad, thrown together with a hand full of chopped herbs. That doesn’t sound too exciting. But it is the combination of great strong flavours that works towards this great dish. The green earthiness of coriander and parsley, combined with the sharp notes of spring onion, the intense floralness of hong to and the silky smoothness of yoghurt play together wonderfully. A bite, for busy times, done in under ten minutes. What more do you want.
My pita stuffed with a parsley and chrysanthemum salad.
Pita bread Iceberg salad Spring onion Goat yoghurt Lemon Coriander Parsley Hong To / edible chrysanthemum leafs (optional) Feta cheese Salt Pepper
For one part of chopped iceberg salad I use about half to a third of a part of each parsley, coriander and hong to, and a third of spring onion. Using hong to is entirely optional,as it can be hard to come buy. If you can however, give it a go. It surely is worth trying.
Warm up your buns in the oven.
Coarsely chop the flat parsley and coriander leafs. Do the same with the hong to leafs. Slice the spring onion thinly. Chop the iceberg salad into coarse bits. Add everything to a bowl and scoop in a few spoons of yoghurt, I love goat yoghurt for its richness, but any other will do. Be careful as not to add too much yoghurt, the greens should be slightly covered, but not drained in sauce. Add salt and pepper and, if necessary, squeeze in some lemon juice. Break in as much feta as you like and give it a good final stir.
Open the pita and scoop in the salad, I like to pack it rather tightly.