Borage here, borage there, borage, borage, everywhere!
It’s that time of year … borage shows up at markets with its intensely blue, five-petal flowers, which is why this herb is also known as “starflower”. Nature can be such a ham with excess on occasion but it cannot be denied that she knows a trick or two about seduction. Borage looks so … so … “fresh” and “vivid” and come-hither, reminding us that Spring is all about promise and potential, renewal and re-jewel. Borage is very Alice in Wonderland … Eat Me.
Other common names include bee bread, burrage and common-bugloss — so says the following link which can give you more details on its botanical and nutritional make-up: www.nutrition-and-you.com/borage.html.
What they don’t tell you is that it can be a handful to handle … it is very bristly and not very pleasant to touch. Touch doesn’t rhyme with ‘ouch’ but that’s exactly what I exclaimed as I took to trimming it with a pair of scissors. It is the leaves we are after (and flowers), not the hollow stems.
I suppose you could add the stems to soups … but I wasn’t making soup that day so … so I was able to give them the heave-ho without even a hint of culpability. Once trimmed, the borage needs proper cleaning … Borage needs quite a lot of pampering, let me tell you. I had so many leaves one time that I had to clean them in the bathtub …On this occasion, thankfully, I was able to wash and rinse them in the kitchen sink.
When the water came to the boil, I added some salt and gently slid the borage leaves into the pot. The idea is to wilt the borage … so only a few minutes of simmering will suffice.
Drain the borage and allow to cool.
Shape the borage into little patties … Make some batter with plain flour and water. Ice-cold water, however, and preferably sparkling. Allow the batter to set for at least 20 minutes. Dip each borage patty into the batter and fry in some olive oil or other oil of your preference. The borage has already cooked, remember, so the borage fritter is ready the minute the batter goes nice and crisp. Once on the plate, add a good pinch of salt and serve hot. Isn’t it amazing that we go from this ….To this?
That is the magic of cooking.
Please note that you can fry the borage leaves, one at a time, without bothering to wilt them first. Best to do that when you have someone to help you at in the kitchen!