Monday, April 29, 2013

Foraging Recipe: Knotweed Pico de Gallo

A great mix of flavors and textures:
sweet & hot, sour & tangy, juicy & crisp!

Is everyone sick of the knotweed posts? The season is winding down, but I have been really crushing on the flavor, and I keep thinking of new things to do with it. I just can't eat enough Japanese knotweed.

This recipe has been on my mind for a while, but it has gotten lost in the jumble of other culinary experiments.

Tacos are one of those meals I love to throw together for a weeknight. Few other meals are so complete, come together so quickly, and all in one pan! Cut up some veggies, juice a couple of limes (maybe an extra for a margarita) and toss in a protein with some spices and call it done.

Pico de Gallo, also known as fresh salsa, is a melody of tomato, onion, cilantro and lime. The tartness of Japanese knotweed plays along well, as does the crunchy texture. It isn't a main focus of the flavor, but it's a great way to add another veggie, you could even sneak it in past picky kids!

Knotweed Pico de Gallo
I used mine on top of some shrimp,
seasoned with adobo, cumin and a dash of cayenne

Makes 1 1/2 cups (enough for 4-8 tacos)
2 plum tomatos
1/2 large red or white onion
4 stalks of Japanese knotweed, about 10" long, and 1/2" thick
2 Limes
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper (optional) *
1/2 cup cilantro
Kosher salt

I like my pico de gallo with all the ingredients chopped to about the same size; I find the flavors come together better in each bite.

* I opted not to use a hot pepper here, because I wanted more of the knotweed flavor to come through. 

  1. Remove the seeds and juice bits from the tomatoes, and give them a medium dice. Also do a medium dice on the onion. Mince the jalapeno or serrano, (if using), remove the seeds for less heat. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Juice the limes. First roll each one back in forth on the cutting board, while pressing down with your hand. This breaks up the cells a bit, and releases more juice. Mix the juice in with the tomato and onion.
  3. Slice the knotweed stalks into vertical quarters, then do a medium dice on each quarter stalk. Mix into the tomato/onion.
  4. Mince the cilantro and mix everything together with a generous amount of kosher salt. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes for the flavors to come together, this is a good time to make the tacos, though the fresh salsa is also good with tortilla chips, or in lettuce wraps.

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