Friday, May 8, 2015

Milkweed Shoots Recipe - Milkweed Frittata

As spring quickly marches forward towards summer, there are so many fresh wild greens popping up every day that we can eat a #wildfoodeveryday. Ramps greens can easily go into anything that requires onions or garlic, dandelion greens are still tender and not yet bitter, so they go in salads and baked dishes with grains, violets get tossed on everything for color and garnish, and milkweed shoots and feral asparagus are eaten lightly boiled, buttered, and salted on their own.

Milkweed shoots are a mild green vegetable. Some older foraging guides perpetuate the myth that milkweed needs to be boiled in multiple changes of water to make it safe, but we don't follow this faulty advice that was likely the result of someone confusing milkweed shoots with dogbane shoots, which are terribly bitter and mildly toxic. We boil milkweed shoots and seed pods briefly for 4-6 minutes before using them in recipes, otherwise you would be left with a mushy, nutrient-less food that has been boiled to death. Pairing milkweed shoots with eggs and cheese is a natural combination, and the addition of a tangier cheese like feta is something we'll try the next time we make this recipe.

Milkweed Shoot Frittata       makes one 10" frittata, about 8 servings

2 Tbsp. butter
1 c. peeled, diced, and boiled until tender potatoes
1/2 c. chopped onions or ramps bulbs
12 oz. blanched milkweed shoots
2 Tbsp. diced red peppers
8 large eggs
1 c. shredded mild cheese like Monterey Jack or Swiss
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. crumbled feta
1/2 c. shredded mild cheese (for the top)

1. Preheat the oven broiler.
2. Over medium heat in a large oven-proof skillet, combine the butter, diced cooked potatoes, chopped onion or ramps, and diced peppers. Cook until potatoes start to brown, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes. 
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, pepper, and 1 c. shredded mild cheese together. Fold in the crumbled feta cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the cooked vegetables in the skillet.
4. Using a rubber spatula, gently mix the eggs until they are mostly firm and set. Quickly arrange the milkweed shoots around the top of the frittata like a wheel's spokes, sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 c. shredded cheese, and place the frittata under the broiler for 5-8 minutes, until the eggs completely set and the cheese melts and browns.
5. Allow the frittata to cool, and it will mostly release from the skillet in one piece. Cut into 8 wedges and serve warm.