Although chef Oringer flavored his cool Italian panna cotta with sassafras (it has a licorice-like flavor and was once used in root beer), we substituted the easier-to-find yet deliciously spicy lemongrass in both the custard and the fruit that garnishes it.
Make the panna cotta
Combine the cream, lemongrass, sugar, and salt in 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let steep 30 minutes, covered.
Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the buttermilk and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Rewarm the cream mixture over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the buttermilk. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Divide the mixture evenly among eight 4-oz. ramekins and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
Macerate the strawberries
Put the water, sugar, and lemongrass in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes.
Put the strawberries into a large bowl. Strain the syrup mixture through a fine mesh sieve and toss with the strawberries.
Garnish the panna cotta with the macerated strawberries, pinch of sea salt, mint leaves, and edible flowers.
Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.