Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wild salad

For once, my cravings are actually in sync with the season. I want green in any way, shape, or form. I want to eat it, I want to sew it, I want to knit it and I want to weave it. There's nothing left, is there?

Here's how I collect a nice wild green salad. By no means does this include all the possibilities, even from my city garden -- this batch doesn't include dandelion, violet, wild lettuce, etc. And my definition of wild is any plant that takes care of itself -- that is, I don't plant it, water it, or fuss over it in any way.

I start out in the cold frame with some not-so-wild lettuce leaves, but keep reading, it's gets wild from here on in.

Horseradish, Armoracia rusticana -- a few of the young leaves add a nice kick to a salad mix.

This wild-as-can-be common mallow, Malva neglecta, can be eaten fresh or cooked. I think some people call this a weed, so unfair.

 A julienned young leaf of yellow dock, Rumex crispus, adds a lemony taste.

I use a few blades of these walking Egyptian onions-gone-wild, Allium proliferum, for green oniony-ness.

Baby lamb's quarters, Chenopodium album, are so good fresh or cooked -- I've never seen a garden lacking in this tasty plant.

Hollyhock leaves, Alcea rosea -- not really a wild plant unless it's gone rogue in your garden. Which it has in mine, I haven't planted it for years. Another member of the mallow family, I use the leaves in spring salads and the flower petals in summer salads.

There you have it! Rinsed and dried, this will go nicely with wild sockeye salmon tonight. Is there such a thing as wild chocolate for dessert?

An easy dressing is 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 T. red-wine or apple-cider vinegar, a clove of minced garlic, and salt & pepper. Sometimes, a little Dijon mustard or a little honey, it depends. Of course, fresh herbs can always be added, but it's surprising how flavorful wildness can be on its own.

Also posted at Food Renegade.


  1. Hi Peggy, I've been away for a week and look what growing in your garden! Spring is finally arrives in your garden. Enjoy - Nat

  2. Hi Peggy, I like your "wild"! :)
    I have been eating spinach leaves every day at lunch and would eat more wild fun greens, if I could find them.
    I am sure there is magic in your garden. (smiles)

  3. i feel so guilty now. my head is hanging in shame. about the mallow... ugh
    found this in my yard last year and
    thought it was a . . .(cough) weed.
    I have learned so much from your
    post. I'm not much of a gardener but
    i do love "green."
    most anything that grows in my yard, grows
    despite me.
    I will be on high alert for mallow :* ) this year...
    thank you!

  4. Nat, hope you had a great time out and about -- and yes, spring is slowly making its appearance. We are expecting snow this weekend **!*-!?! You can imagine what that means!

  5. Thanks, Marie -- the garden is a magical place on many levels!

  6. Cristina, you are too funny -- I like that bit about it being a (cough) weed! Hey, it'll be back threefold, and you may have to be firm with it again, who knows?