The Forager's Spring Feast
A Celebration of Spring
What could be better than a foraged feast to celebrate Spring!
It's usually about the first of May before I set out
to collect some of my favorite spring edibles. Old haunts are revisited,
having yielded their delicious abundance of greens, mushrooms or good
fishing before. I have had the opportunity to assemble this meal many
times with slight variations. It's always celebration on so many levels;
the joy of the trip, the walk, the find, the catch and the feast. And of
course, the celebration of another season of green to come.
black or semi-libera) fried in butter till just done.
The main course:
Trout, dusted with salt, flour and fried in butter or grilled. I stuff the body cavity with
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, with a dab of Dijon mustard to finish.
Mashed potatoes with wild leeks and garlic.
Served up with a Saranac Pale Ale or a glass of
your favorite wine. Now that's living!
If no fiddle heads are available, another nice spring
vegetable is the ubiquitous dandelion. Pick the leaves from a place that
doesn't receive any lawn treatments or chemicals early in the season
before flowers form and before they turn too bitter.
You can use
dandelion greens in any "greens and beans" recipe.
My method is to wash the
dandelion greens is several washes of water. Cook some garlic in olive oil
until it begins to brown, put 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.
Some crumbled bacon or chipotle peppers add a little kick.
- Roy Reehil
PS - I spend a lot of time outdoors, so why not come home with an
arm full 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