This is our first meal of 2013 that relies heavily on foraged edibles.
Walking back from the library, I saw that the Chickweed (Stellara media) growing on the slope of our front yard was finally large enough to harvest. Excited to get the crisp green on my plate, I decided that a salad dinner was in order. It mixed with greens from Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum), Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) and spinach (from the market, for now). To the greens, I added toasted stale bread as croutons, sliced carrots, a fried egg, large shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese and a homemade vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, minced garlic, honey, salt and pepper.
The verdict: The complex and distinct flavors of the foraged greens stood out individually but mingled nicely. It took less than ten minutes to harvest enough greens for a salad to feed four adults. Next time, I hope to use more chickweed and less red dead nettle. The nettle’s slightly fuzzy texture was a bit too present as the main salad green. (As a cooked green, this is not an issue.) I adore the delicate, juicy flavor of the chickweed, and I hope that I find it more available around the yard.
This meal was a bit on the light side, but I knew we were following it with homemade mint milkshakes, so that didn’t concern me much.
I’m glad to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t mind an eccentric neighbor sliding down their sloping front yard picking weeds. And one that even allows weeds to flourish. With the right conditions, soon we will not need to buy any greens until late fall!