Josh McFadden knows his way around an edible flower. In his cookbook with Martha Holmberg, Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables (May, 2017, Artisan Books), McFadden, the chef-owner of Ava Gene's and other Portland-area restaurants, shares one of the simplest and most beautiful ideas we've seen. Butter becomes a canvas for whatever herbs and edible flowers are in your garden. "I've never put this on a table without it prompting a lot of conversation and happy faces," says McFadden.
1/2 cup room-temperature, best-quality unsalted butter
Small or torn fresh herb leaves, including milder-flavored ones (thyme, dill, and flat-leaf parsley) and stronger ones (tarragon, sage, and/or oregano)
1 green onion, sliced
Petals from edible flowers such as anise hyssop, marigolds, pansies, calendulas, nasturtiums, Johnny-jump-ups, and borage
Flake sea salt
Cracked coriander seeds, red chile flakes, and poppy seeds (optional)
Baguettes or crackers
On a platter or board, smear 1 butter 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick, using an offset spatula. Scatter generously with herb leaves. Scatter with sliced green onion, flower petals, salt, and pepper. If you like, add cracked coriander seeds, chile flakes, and poppy seeds. Serve with baguettes.