Cooking with Borage

I plant borage in most of my gardens*. Borage grows quit tall and produces pretty blue spiked flowers. The leaves are edible, tasting vaguely of cucumber, though they are prickly and best eaten when young. I wrote about borage for GOOP.com, if you want to know more about growing the plant. The thing is, while I think borage is tasty, most of my clients don’t eat it. I think they just don’t get it at all. It’s completely new and foreign. Chief among the confused and disinterested is Chef Mark Fuller of Springhill in West Seattle. I grow food for his restaurant in his backyard. We’re able to produce a lot in a small space, but the borage always gets neglected.

With Mark in mind, I set to finding some sort of restuarant-approved recipe wherein he can use borage. No small task, as Mark is a stellar chef. I mean, a seriously stellar chef. The way his mind works in the kitchen is amazing. Regardless, he is tough to impress, but I kept it simple and came up with this easy recipe.

I used this cheese as a layer in a zucchini tart. Using store-bought puff pasty, I smeared a layer of cheese, sauteed some leeks and diced zucchini and added that, then covered the whole thing with thin shaves of zucchini in a criss-cross pattern across the top of the tart. Gave it a quick egg wash brush and baked it for about 25 minutes. You can also use this as a ravioli filling. I’m going to try it in a fresh layered ‘lasagna’ next.

Borage Ricotta

2 cups ricotta
50 borage leaves (from 2 full grown plants), minced
2 teaspoons chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
zest of one lemon, finely grated
Stir to combine all ingredients. Keeps in fridge for up to 5 days.

*A note about why I grow borage when no one seems to like it: In order to plant organically, I follow crop rotations and intersperse families of plants in all of my gardens. There are crop rotations (which rotate around brassicas or nightshades) and then there is a fertility rotation (which rotates plants based on nutrient requirements). In short, I plant in the following order: leaf, root, flower, fruit. Borage is used for my flower rotation.