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Weeds, Roots, and Leaves

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Some chefs are giving new meaning to local and seasonal foods: at a recent Food Book Fair event, diners were fed a novel and unusual array of foraged foods (read: weeds).

Chefs experimented with an array of wild plants that makes ramps seem as commonplace as butter lettuce; stinging nettles are sheer child’s play. Present on plates that evening were tamarack shoots, ground ivy, and cattails (yes, the same ones that call to mind the swampy wetlands of the Catskills). For the culinary adventurers in our midst, though, it would appear that cattail cooking isn’t all that difficult:

"I sliced them and cooked them down in butter, like leeks. Then I put them in a cast iron skillet and crisped them up to get a light, crunchy texture."

There you go, there's lunch. Just make sure you pick the right – and edible - weed.

From Weed to Whimsy: Chefs Conquer Wild Foods with Butter and Oil from NPR


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Comments (2)


over 3 years ago LauriL

Thanks for a new take on something that I've been ripping out (very gingerly I might add) and discarding from my gardens....swearing all the way to the compost bin!! They hurt for hours if you're not careful!


over 3 years ago Homemadecornbread

A couple of times each year, the Pascagoula chapter of the Audubon Society holds a wild foods feast that features foraged foods. This past fall, cattails were on the menu - they were sauteed in butter and mixed with wild rice. They were delicious! They look like leeks and have a texture similar to water chestnuts. I keep thinking I'll harvest some from the little swamp on our property and give them a try. There was a tasty vinaigrette made with foraged pecans and served on wild greens - purslane mainly. There was tasty gumbo made with our local seafood. A popular local favorite, smoked mullet, was on the appetizer table. Dessert was Mississippi blackberries with lemon curd made from local citrus. A very fun event! Did I mention the grilled alligator skewers?