I bought the pack of Borage seeds simply because I thought the flowers on the packaging looked pretty, but I’ve become quite fond of this herb with its pretty, blue star-shaped flowers and its fragrant, somewhat prickly leaves.
Since planting borage (rhymes with porridge), I’ve learned a lot about it. Borage has been grown for centuries in Europe for both culinary and medicinal purposes. In the kitchen, the edible flowers are often candied to decorate desserts and the leaves with their cucumber-like taste are popular in soups, as a filling for ravioli, and even to flavor pickles. The leaves are also the traditional garnish of the famed British Pimm’s Cup cocktail.
If borage were in your medicine cabinet, your medieval doctor might prescribe it as an anti-depressant or a way to get your fickle lover to commit. Today, it has uses in alternative medicine as a way to help regulate metabolism and relieve PMS and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. It’s also being researched for properties that may help relieve alzheimer’s symptoms.
I was happy with the plant for the pop of color it brought to my garden, but then I watered it in the heat of the afternoon and became a bit enchanted by its fragrance. I’ve since been trying to put my finger on the exact taste and smell of borage leaves with some difficulty. The flavor is most often compared with cucumber and I agree that cucumber is the most dominant flavor, but it also has a citrusy-herbal quality that had me immediately thinking about ways to pair it with fish. And hence this recipe was born.
If using fresh borage, be sure to pick young and/or small leaves for the recipe. The older, larger leaves tend to be a bit tougher with unpleasant pricklies that don’t inspire love or mouthwatering on the part of the cook. If you don’t have borage in your garden, don’t despair. You can substitute your favorite herb for the two tablespoons of borage; dill, parsley, basil and cilantro would all be delicious.
And one final note. A quick search on the internet will tell you that while borage is edible consuming the leaves in large quantities can cause liver damage. My husband and I scraped the bowl clean with this borage yogurt sauce and lived to tell the tale, but I would do some research if you plan on making borage a major part of your diet. Happy cooking!
Seared Salmon with Borage Yogurt Sauce – Printer Friendly Recipe
If you have fresh borage growing in your garden, be sure to use young or small leaves for the yogurt sauce as they are less tough and less prickly than their older and larger counterparts. If you do not have access to borage substitute a favorite herb like dill, basil, parsley, or cilantro for an equally refreshing accompaniment to this salmon.
For the Borage Yogurt Sauce:
7 ounces (1 small carton) Greek 2% yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped, peeled and seeded hothouse cucumber
2 tablespoons finely chopped borage leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salmon:
2 (5-6 ounce) wild Alaskan salmon fillets, skin removed
Ground cumin, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Garnish: fresh borage flowers (optional)
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels and then season to taste with a little ground cumin, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Combine all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce in a small bowl.
Add just enough olive oil to lightly cover the entirety of a medium skillet. Add the salmon fillets, presentation side down, and sear for about 2-4 minutes on each side depending on their thickness. Note that a fillet that at its thickest is about 1/2-inch will take approximately 5 minutes to cook. Remove the salmon from the pan and set aside.
Serve seared salmon atop the yogurt sauce and garnish with fresh borage flowers if using.