Other Edibles: Wild Leeks Fiddleheads
Black Trumpets Porcini
Hen of the Woods
A Celebration of Spring
Each Spring I enjoy collecting these great wild edibles and assembling a
forager's feast and a celebration of spring. They all usually occur in the same places
from year to year, so it's also an opportunity to visit and old haunt, and a favorite
fishing hole. I have had the opportunity to assemble this celebratory meal on many
occasions with slight variations that I'll indicate afterwards.
Appetizer: Fresh morels (yellow,
black or semi-libera) fried in butter till just done.
The main course: Brook
Trout, fried in butter or grilled. I stuff the body cavity with wild leek
leaves, salt, pepper and a dab of butter before cooking. Add a few of last season's
venison steaks to the mix, flash fried with some sliced leeks and I call that Adirondack
Surf & Turf.
Vegetable: Fiddle heads sautéed with butter and fresh chives, purple
flowers and all.
Mashed potatoes with wild leeks and garlic
Served up with a Saranac Pale Ale (or a nice home brewed brown ale)
Now that's living!
Another nice spring vegetable is the ubiquitous dandelion. Pick
dandelions early in the season before flowers form -- and before they turn really bitter.
To some people they're bitter anyway, but some people like that (like me). Try using
dandelions in any recipe for "beans and greens." My simple method is to wash the
dandelion greens is several washes of water. Cook some garlic in olive oil til it starts
to brown, throw in the dandelion greens, half a cup of water and a bullion cube. Cook till
the dandelions are soft and then toss in a can of cannellini or red beans. Serve alone or
over pasta - elbows or penne are nice.
- Roy Reehil
PS - I spend a lot of time outdoors, so why not come home with an
armful of free natural food that the rest of the world ignores? A collapsible fishing
pole can add a fish to the fire too.
I knew an old timer who grew or collected much of the food he ate. Besides doing it
because he was a depression-era skin-flint, he used to say something like this:
"The plants I grow in my garden or collect in the woods have to fight the same
vermin, [bacteria, molds, viruses] that I do -- the ones that live around here. They've
developed immunities over hundreds of years to survive, so when I eat them I get the
benefit of that evolution. When you buy fancy vegetables from Florida, Mexico or South
America, what good does that food do you? Might even do you some harm."
It's an interesting thought that has stuck in my mind long beyond his passing.
Here's an outstanding Wild Leek Recipe
If you are new to collecting wild foods be sure to check
Forager's Credo and Disclaimer
Back to the Front Page of the Wild Food Field Guide