With the vast array of produce now up for grabs at farmers markets in Southern California, shoppers will no doubt be filling up bags with all the heavy hitters: corn from Tamai’s, eggplant from Peacock’s, melons from Munak and Weiser’s, peaches from Regier’s, tomatoes from Carpenter’s. Pono Burger Chef Makani Carzino is also making a pitch for less-familiar but equally beguiling flora: bachelor button, nasturtium and calendula flowers. Pick some up with a bag of sweet baby lettuce at the Harry’s Berries stand.
Chef Makani uses the flowers and greens in her guacamole, which has the Japanese dipping sauce ponzu in it and is served with wonton chips. The crunch of the chips and the bright peppery notes of the flowers make each mouthful, in Makani’s words, “a sexy little bite.” Try it at your Fourth of July picnic or at Pono Burger in Santa Monica and in Venice. Another restaurant location will be open in West Hollywood soon.
Makani Carzino’s Ponzu guacamole with wonton chips
Yield: Serves 8
To serve: Arrange the Wonton Chips on serving platters. Top each chip with a scoop of Guacamole and a sprinkle of microgreens and edible flowers. Finish with a drizzle of the Sesame Ponzu Dressing and serve immediately.
1 package wonton wrappers
1 qt rice bran oil
Salt, to taste
Separate wonton wrappers and cut into halves, diagonally.
In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil over moderately high heat until a deep fat thermometer registers 375º F. Fry wonton triangles, two at a time, turning constantly with a slotted spoon to ensure even browning, about 5 seconds.
Transfer the fried wonton wrappers to paper towels to drain and season with salt.
Sesame Ponzu Dressing
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup wasabi powder
½ cup sesame oil
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, and wasabi powder. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, drizzle in the sesame oil as you continue to whisk.
4 ripe avocados
⅓ cup red onion, grated
2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp sake
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
1 package microgreens
1 package edible flower petals
Pit and peel the avocados, then cut into ½ inch cubes. In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the avocados, onion, lemon juice, sake, Sriracha, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.