If you have never had any of these delightful Spring, wild vegetables, you at least need to try them. The information presented here, and the photo to the left, is from the Earthy Delight web site or from the Wild-Harvest web site. Interesting information from either site. Recipes are by Chef Chris Perkey on the Wild-Harvest site.
Let’s start with Fiddlehead Ferns from the Wild-Harvest site:
… Tiny gray-green spirals reaching into the first really warm days of Spring. Each of them wearing their own little fur overcoat to protect them when it was chillier weather. Snapped up and eaten by whoever has the sense and taste to do it … Fiddlehead Greens are the premium wild forage vegetable of Spring. No other vegetable matches the exquisite form and delicious flavor of fresh Fiddleheads.Grilled Roots with Fiddleheads and Greek Dressing
2 baby turnips sliced in 1/4 inch discs
1 Rutabaga sliced in 1/4 inch discs
2 Salsify roots peeled
1 Parsnip peeled
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
4 cups of baby green leaf lettuce (Mesclun may be substituted)
1 cup Fiddleheads blanched
1/4 cup Greek Dressing
Preheat grill to high
Toss the Turnips, Rutabaga, Salsify and Parsnips in the oil, salt and pepper.
Grill the Vegetables, turning often to get nice cross marks on at least one side. The vegetables should be just tender. The Salsify and Parsnips may take a little longer. When grilled dice the Parsnip and Salsify into quarter-inch cubes.
Toss the Parsnip and Salsify in with the Fiddleheads and 1 tbsp of the vinaigrette.
Cut the Rutabaga and Turnips in half and lay around 4 plats.
Toss the lettuce (or Mesclun) in with the remaining dressing and distribute to the 4 plats in a mound. in the middle. Top with the Fiddlehead mix and serve.
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Fresh Oregano
Mix well in bowl and reserve.
And then there are the Morel Mushrooms.
Morels are among the most highly prized of all the Wild Harvest Mushrooms. The reason is plain. Their taste is superb!
Their great value may also be found in their elusiveness. While they often grow in profusion they may be very difficult to see – especially for the inexperienced.
Morels grow in temperate latitudes around the world, in both conifer and hardwood forests. In North America they usually emerge first along the West coast in Early Spring and later in much of the forested East, from the Appalacians up through the Great Lakes region, with scattered harvests into Summer and Fall months.
Majority of harvest offered for commercial sale typically comes from Washington and Oregon with limited availability from Great Lakes and eastern states locations.Salmon Fillets With Morels
3 tablespoons butter
5 shallots, minced
18 ounces morels, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
3/4 cup bottled clam juice
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons whipped cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 8-ounce salmon fillets
fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add Morels; sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add clam juice and wine; boil until liquids have almost evaporated, about 20 minutes.
Add cream to mushrooms; boil until thickened, about 1 minute. Mix in chopped tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler. Arrange salmon skin side down on broiler pan. Brush with lemon juice, then butter. Broil until just cooked through, without turning, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates. Spoon Morels over.
And here are the Ramps or Wild Leeks.
Ramps and Wild Leeks are the same plant, a type of wild-growing onion generally presented fresh with the green leaves attached to the small white bulb … Good Ramps or Wild Leeks should have two or three whole bright green leaves with the small white bulb attached by a purplish stem. The leaves are generally about 6 inches long, although Ramps tend to be harvested at a somewhat earlier stage than are Wild Leeks.
Depending on where you get them Ramps or Wild Leeks may be still muddy from the field or all cleaned and trimmed. The key is that they be fresh. Yellowing or withering in the leaves is a sign that they have gone too long.
Ramps and Wild Leeks are also offered in the Summer after the greens are done as bulbs only. These may be used much the same way as Shallots but with a more energetic flavor.
Grilled Tuna with Ramps, Anasazi Beans and Charred Tomato Vinaigrette
4 Tuna Steaks about 1 inch thick
1/2 C Anasazi Beans soaked for at least 2 hours
8 fresh Ramps (or Wild Leeks)
4 Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp fresh Parsley
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
1 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
Preheat grill to high
Add one tbsp of salt to one quart of cold water and the beans. simmer over medium heat for about one hour. Check after 45 minutes for doneness. They should be soft but with just a slight bite to them. Remove from heat and drain. If not used immediately chill in ice water and reserve.
Toss the tomatoes in 1/2 tbsp of the salt and 1 tsp of the pepper and 1/4 cup of the Olive Oil. Grill over high heat turning often until charred all the way around. Remove from heat and cover in a bowl until soft all the way through.
Combine tomatoes, 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper and the rive wine vinegar in a food processor and puree. Slowly add all but one tbsp of the Olive Oil until well incorporated. Adjust the seasonings and reserve.
Rub the tuna steaks and the Ramps with the remaining Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and grill the Tuna for only about two minutes per side. The Ramps should be grilled for about the same time or until soft.
Place a mound of the (warm) beans in the center of four plates. Slice the Tuna into about 5 slices and fan over the beans. Drizzle the vinaigrette around the plate and top everything with two grilled ramps on each plate.
I thought this was interesting information. I hope you do, too. Click this links for more information from the Wild-Harvest web site or this link for information from the Earthy Delights web site. The information gathered here, including the recipes, is from these two sites. Another great source is Saveur – Authentic Recipes. Cheers!