The peppery leaves and brilliant flowers of the nasturtium can either be thrown whole into salads or chopped and folded into mayonnaise. They can be bought in supermarkets but are the easiest thing to grow from seed, even if you only have a flowerpot on your windowsill. This simple summer-to-early-autumn salad combines them with raspberries, raspberry vinegar and hazelnut oil. Remember that all nut oils become stale quickly, so buy the smallest possible bottles and store in the fridge. If you are making the salad at a time when the first cob nuts have appeared in the shops, roughly chop a few and add them to the mixture.
Pull the leaves of the lettuces apart, wash and dry them and put into a salad bowl. Lightly mix in the nasturtium leaves and flowers and the chopped dill, if using.
To make the dressing, press the raspberries through a sieve into a small bowl. Add the raspberry vinegar and hazelnut oil and mix together thoroughly with a fork. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and dress the salad with the mixture just before serving, making sure that plenty of the nasturtium flowers are visible on top.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.