Up until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of banana flower salad. I have always enjoyed bananas, but I had never heard of eating a banana flower at all. At a specialty produce store I saw the banana flowers and decided to buy them and figure out what to do with them when I got home.
It turns out there are several ways to eat a banana flower cooked or raw. My sister and brother-in-law spent some time in Vietnam a few years ago doing public health work, and remembered a tasty banana flower salad. So, I had my inspiration. I looked up some tips on how to prepare a banana flower. The result, a light tasting crisp salad with a hint of banana hiding in the chopped blossoms.
Banana flower salad
*2 banana flowers
*1 small red radicchio
*Salad dressing of choice.
Fill a large bowl with water. Slice 1 lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice into the water.
Peel the red outer petals off the banana flower. These will not be used. The bud flowers under the petals will also not be used for this salad. They can be used, but require more extensive preparation.
Cut the stem off and discard.
Thinly slice the remaining flower. Place the thinly sliced banana flower into the lemon water to prevent browning.
Repeat process with other banana flower.
Thinly slice radicchio and place into lemon water as well.
Take sliced banana flower and radicchio out of lemon water and strain out water. Place in bowl.
Add dressing of choice.
This salad can be served along side a main dish, in a sandwich, or can be served as part of the main dish on top of greens with some chicken or seafood. We served it as a side to our tamarind highbush cranberry chutney with venison. It was delicious.
For this recipe, we followed a traditional way to prepare the blossom, but the salad itself is not really a Vietnamese salad.
A quick internet search will show recipes for salads and stir fry, and even fritters using the banana blossoms. So not only are there many different types of bananas, there are many ways to eat the banana flower. If you have a favorite way to serve banana flower, please share it in the comments section below.