Monday, April 12, 2010

Chickweed Recipe - Creamy Chickweed Dressing

Chickweed is a great plant for beginning foragers, or for kids. It pretty much grows anywhere, including your lawn. It is available all year, but best in the early spring before too many other plants grow and shade it out. There are many species, but mostly here in New England you will find Stellaria media. The plant has small, paired oval-to-spade-shaped toothless leaves growing along it's flexible stem. One odd identifier is the thin line of hair running up the stem, not covering the whole stem. Another identifier is a tough string inside of the hollow stem--you can see it if you break the stem gently and pull the stronger string out.

Tiny, white flowers bloom in clusters at the tips of the plant, and drop tiny brown seeds. At first glance, it might look like there are 10 petals on the flowers, but there are actually 5 deeply split petals. Chickweed usually is a ground hugging plant, meaning it needs lots of extra washing to get the dirt off.

The taste of raw chickweed is mild, almost like corn, or at least the corn silk. It is a tender green, wonderful in salads. It can also be lightly cooked or added to a soup like an herb. It provides vitamin C, choline, vitamin B 6+12, vitamin D and beta carotene. It is a super spring green, appearing early enough to fill the desire for "something fresh" in your diet after a long winter.

Our find this weekend was so abundant, we made several recipes. Robert had a salad with feta, chickweed and a lemony dressing. I made myself a green egg salad, with fresh chives. We also tried a creamy chickweed dressing, and added it to pesto with some pungent garlic mustard.

Creamy Chickweed Dressing makes about 1 1/2 c. dressing

1/2 c. olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 c. fresh, washed chickweed greens and stems
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 c. plain yogurt

1. In a blender, place all ingredients except for the yogurt. Blend until smooth and finely chopped.
2. Add yogurt, blending briefly, until mixed.

Chickweed egg salad makes about 1 1/2 c.

4 hard boiled eggs
2/3 c. finely chopped chickweed greens and stems
1 tsp. horseradish
1 T fresh chives
1/2 c. mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1. Chop eggs coarsely. Toss with chopped greens, horseradish and chives.
2. Mix in mayo gently, season with salt and pepper.

1 comment:

veganf said...

Now THAT I know I have! I'll have to go grab some...maybe make a potato salad with it, or hummus!