Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Cattail Recipe--Cattail Flower Bread

Late spring is when we head back out into wet areas that are filled with cattails, and at this time of year the flower spikes are just getting ready to emerge from a protective leaf sheath. In a week or two, the male portion of the flower will be filled with pollen that can be collected, but now we are after the immature flower, specifically the upper, male portion. The bottom half of the flower spike is the female portion, and once pollinated, it will mature into the familiar "hot dog on a stick" you see in swamps and wet areas.

Pinch the green fluff off the core

We cut the flower spike off the stem, and bring them home to peel off the covering, shaking off the tiny beetles that often live inside. There isn't much "meat" on the lower, female flower, so that gets discarded. The upper, male portion can be boiled, buttered, and salted and eaten like corn on the cob, leaving behind a white core. We also like to pinch off the tender green fluff from the core and use it in recipes, lending a corn-like flavor. The green fluff can be frozen successfully by packing it tightly in a container, or vacuum packing it into pouches and used all year.

This bread has a similar texture as conventional cornbread, and we make it in a cast iron skillet for a nice crispy outer crust. Serve it with some sour cream dolloped on top, or on the side of some chili.

Cattail Bread          makes one 9" cast iron pan, or 9" cake pan

1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. cattail flower fluff, removed from core
2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. diced jalapenos or sweet red pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped scallions or ramps greens
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk

1. Heat oven to 400ยบ F, butter a cast iron skillet or baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cattail fluff, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper, diced peppers, chopped scallions, and shredded cheese. Mix together.
3. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs with the melted butter and buttermilk.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until combined.
5. Pour into prepared skillet or pan, and bake 18-25 minutes, until lightly browned and the top springs back when pressed. Cool and cut.

1 comment:

Colorful Canary said...

Thanks for the great recipe! I feature this and your fermented cattail shoots on today's roundup :)