This is the kind of dish that keeps me foraging. I would go so far as to say it's the kind of dish that represents the lifestyle I aspire to lead: meals made with a mix of wild edibles and high-quality, healthy (mostly) store-bought ingredients. Meals that are quick enough for weeknights, but make dinner feel like a special occasion. Meals that are so good, and so easy, that I will never order take-out Chinese again.
I'm not there yet, but this was a great start.
This dish could better be called: things I picked at the park, mixed with all the bits and pieces left over in my fridge--and it tastes great! But let's face it, sallet is more succinct. A sallet is a mixture of cooked greens, as opposed to a raw-greens salad. Like salads, sallets are pretty versatile, and if you are missing any of these ingredients, feel free to experiment with substitutions, or go without. The core flavors here are milkweed (but you could use green beans or broccoli), pancetta (or bacon or ham), and ramps (or spring onion/scallion).
|Crown-tipped coral mushroom. Some coral mushrooms |
are toxic, know what you are harvesting.
Ramps are usually past at this point, but we were fortunate enough to be able to pick out 3 large handfuls of still-green leaves from our large patch--it took a while to find the good ones though!
Common milkweed tastes kind of like a broccoli/green bean hybrid, so if you can't identify or can't find milkweed, try one of those.
Milkweed Shoot, Pancetta & Ramp Salletfor 2, can be doubled
22-30 young milkweed shoots,
1" thick slab of pancetta, cut into small cubes
9 sundried tomatoes, diced
15 ramp leaves, give or take,
or substitute 6 scallions, sliced thinly
4-8 oz mushrooms,
wild, cremini, or shitake, diced
- Cut your milkweed shoots into approximately 2" lengths. Bring a pot of water to boil, (enough to cover the shoots). Once boiling, add the milkweed shoots and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally. After draining, run cold water over them, to stop the cooking process.
- Add the cubed pancetta to a non-stick fry-pan over medium-high heat. Brown on all sides.
- Add the mushrooms to the pancetta, reduce heat to medium.
- After about a minute, when the mushrooms have just started to release their liquid, add the sundried tomatoes and ramps or scallions.
- After the mixture has cooked for about 10 minutes, and the mushrooms and pancetta are done, add in the cooked milkweed. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes longer, to really get the flavors mixed in together.
- Serve immediately. Can be served over cooked rice or pasta dressed with olive oil & garlic; doing so will stretch the meal for 4 people.