Photo: Carina Salvi

Not just a pretty face, nasturtiums make for eminent nose-to-tail eating. The flowers, leaves, and stems add a nice, peppery touch to everything from soups to salads. You can even pickle the seeds and immature fruit and use them as a substitute for capers, should you be so inclined. Although Annie Wayte, the produce-passionate chef at Nicole’s and 202, doesn’t go that far, she does use the chopped leaves and blossoms for her nasturtium mayonnaise—her chosen condiment for crab salad—and highly recommends reserving a few flowers for garnish.

Annie Wayte’s Nasturtium-Blossom Mayonnaise
12 nasturtium blossoms (available at Greenmarket’s Windfall and Norwich Meadows farm stands), with leaves, plus 3 whole blossoms for garnish
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Illustration by John Burgoyne

(1) Coarsely chop nasturtium blossoms and leaves. Mash garlic with sea salt, preferably in a mortar. Add egg yolk and mix thoroughly.
(2) Combine oils and slowly trickle them into egg mixture a few drops at a time, whisking vigorously until emulsified. If mayonnaise becomes too thick, thin it with a drop or two of lemon juice, and continue mixing until all the oil has been added.
(3) Stir in chopped nasturtiums. Adjust seasoning and consistency with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Makes approximately 3/4 cup. Serving suggestion: Place alongside picked jumbo crabmeat, radishes, baby fennel, and cooked new potatoes arranged as a salad with toasted country bread.