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Ellen’s Savory Recipes

Fiddlehead Farfalle Recipe

During that far-too-brief period of time when fiddlehead ferns are in season, I suggest you make the most of them. After all, you only have a couple of weeks, and then all that’s left are dreams, memories, and a longing for crunchy green crosiers that won’t be around for another 50 weeks. Fiddlehead farfalle is the perfect way to feature the fiddlehead! (more…)

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Japanese Knotweed Pickles: Recipe

Most people (and all gardeners) consider Japanese knotweed to be an aggressive, invasive weed, that crowds out many less vigorous plants. You might wonder what’s wrong with that, survival of the fittest and all, but the truth is that monocultures in nature can be unfortunate things, especially when wildlife depends on diversity in the landscape for food and shelter.

So, in an effort to save the world, one stem at a time, I give you my recipe for Japanese knotweed pickles. (more…)

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Spring Greens Gratin: Recipe

It’s clean out the freezer time here in Santa Fe! Gotta make room before I can store all the new greens I hope to be harvesting over the next few months. Last night I pulled out two vacuum sealed packets of blanched greens (nettles and garlic mustard) and threw together this spring greens gratin. It was a huge hit, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again as I dig deeper into the freezer, using up all sorts of greens to make room for this year’s harvest. (more…)

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Foraged Filé Gumbo: Recipe

Although I’ve used sassafras twigs and roots for years, I’ve only recently started using the dried, ground leaves of sassafras, better known as filé. Yup, the filé in filé gumbo is dried, ground sassafras leaves. You can buy it in good spice stores, but if you’ve got access to sassafras trees, there’s no reason not to make your own foraged filé gumbo. (more…)

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Roasted Hosta Shoots: a Recipe

About the Hosta Plant

Hostas are one of the world’s most popular shade plants, but most American gardeners don’t realize the young hosta shoots are a tasty spring green. Hosta enthusiasts have been know to fill entire gardens with different species and cultivars: blue leaves, chartreuse leaves, green margins with a white center, white margins with a green center, plants that are 3 feet tall, plants that are 3 inches tall…you get the picture.

The flavor varies among species and cultivars, but all are safe to eat. You’ll have to experiment and see which you like best. The flowers are edible, too. Toss them in salads, or use them as garnish; the blooms of H. plantaginea are especially fine. (more…)

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Stinging Nettle Malfatti Recipe

Legend has it that malfatti (Italian for “poorly made”) were whipped up by a resourceful peasant woman who needed to feed a group of hungry men and had little more than some stale bread and a few eggs in her kitchen. I love stinging nettle malfatti because they’re fluffy, easy, and inexpensive to make; I think they’re tastier than gnocchi.  (more…)

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Simple Dandelion Greens Recipe

Years ago, before I was officially a forager, I visited Crete in early Spring with my parents. As we approached the entrance to the Samaria Gorge we saw that the fields were full of people picking something. My father pulled over and made me get out to ask what they were harvesting. Being a dutiful (albeit slightly resentful) daughter, I asked the first person I met.  He slapped his generous belly enthusiastically with both hands and answered, “Χόρτα! Για την υγεία!” (Greens! For the health!) Later that afternoon, I’m sure we were served some of those very same greens: tender young dandelion greens, briefly blanched, then sautéed in olive oil and served at room temperature with a squeeze of lemon juice. (more…)

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Wild Ginger Syrup Recipe

Making wild ginger syrup is a great way to preserve our native wild ginger. In liquid form, wild ginger can flavor cocktails, soft drinks, sorbets, crepes, or marinades with its complex and versatile taste.

For years I’ve used wild ginger freshly chopped or dried and powdered. That’s great for baking, but liquids are better for certain applications. By making wild ginger syrup, you get both. When the syrup is done, you’ll be left with candied wild ginger, which can be frozen or dried, and used later as a spice. (more…)

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Baked Sunchoke Chips: Recipe

There are times when nothing but a salty snack will do. Sure, you could buy a bag of Doritos, but wouldn’t it be better (healthier, more fun, less expensive) to make your own snack chips out of a foraged tuber? Of course it would. And you’ll be surprised by how easy they are to make. (more…)

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Milkweed Quiche Recipe

Milkweed florets are a delicious vegetable. They are obligingly bite-sized and when used in a quiche (or frittata, or omelette, or timbale) their mild, green, vegetal flavor contrasts nicely with the rich mixture of eggs and cheese. It’s a balanced dish, and one that’s easy to throw together in just a few minutes. Not to mention, the vegetables are free! (more…)

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