One Wild Seasonal Meal: May
By Tammy Donroe on May 15, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
For those of us who lean less toward gardening and more toward foraging, Spring has some good stuff to offer. There’s something to be said for letting nature do all the work. In that spirit, this month’s seasonal meal stems from where the wild things are: your yard, the forest, a river or nearby field. It doesn’t get much more local than that and you get to consort with nature while you’re at it. And while I’ll admit that I’ve had some hits and misses with dandelion greens, I’m positively sold on mugwort and Japanese knotweed. Get yourself a wild edible guide and hit the trails. P.S. Don’t eat the poison ivy.
Here's a warm-weather virtual five-course meal courtesy of some of my favorite bloggers:
For an appetizer, let’s start with fritters from Dishing up Delights, only let’s sub in ramps for the leeks for the purposes of wildness. I love the garlicky-oniony taste of ramps and I love anything fried. And since this isn't a formal affair (we're cooking up weeds, after all), you can eat them right out of the frying pan while you’re putting the finishing touches on…
A dandelion and bacon salad by Umami Girl. Dandelion leaves are best when they’re small, tender, and only mildly bitter. They can be mixed with regular lettuce if you’re feeling only partially adventurous. The fatty, saltiness of the bacon helps to balance the dandelion’s strong flavor. I made the mistake of wilting the dandelion greens one time in bacon fat, which seemed like it would be a good idea, but instead it made me want to rip my tongue out. I guess I only like the greens raw.
Next, the soup course: morel and sunchoke soup by Apple Pie, Patis, & Pate, because you can never have too many morels. I just planted some morel spawn in my yard under an apple tree, so I hope the mushroom gods are smiling down on me next spring. Sunchokes are just the root tubers of sunflower plants, which might be hard to find in the wild at this time of year. There’s easier foraging at the supermarket, I hear.
For the main entrée, how about bass with fiddleheads, crab, and curry from Caviar and Codfish. This flavor combination seems crazy enough to work. My yard is
absolutely covered in ferns, but not the right kind, unfortunately. I'll still eat curried bass, though.
And for dessert, let's finish with rhubarb pudding cakes from Eggs on Sunday.
Japanese knotweed makes a great wild stand-in for rhubarb in its young shoot stage, and no one will fault your for attacking this aggressive invasive with all your hungry might. If you wanted to get all fancy-like, you could even sprinkle them with sugared violets as seen over at Very Small Anna.
Did I forget anything? Stinging nettles? What else?
Tammy Donroe can also be found documenting the messy collision between food and life on her blog, Food on the Food.