Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Burdock and curly dock dip recipe, vegetarian, gluten-free. Like spinach and artichoke, with foraged, edible weeds.

This was so much yum. . . of course, with this much cheese, it would be hard not to be. Do you like spinach and artichoke dip? I'm going to assume yes; I mean it's delicious. This is my wild, foraged riff on spinach and artichoke dip! 

Did you know that artichokes are part of the thistle family? The part we eat is the flower bud, if left unpicked, it would turn into a huge, spiky, purple flower.

Burdock is a related plant from Asia, where the root is eaten not just for food, but for health. It's great for the liver and kidneys. Burdock has been introduced here in the US, where it's become invasive, like it's friend curly dock.

Despite the similar name, the two plants aren't related, they just look similar. You also use them differently: curly dock is about the leaves.

And curly dock, a tender and flavorful green, with a subtly sour note, is super abundant here in Texas now.

Prolific growth of tender, healthy curly dock

In honor of the coming together of two docks, I christen thee: Double Dock Dip!

Double Dock Dip 

Makes 3.5 cups of finished dip, feel free to halve the recipe 

Burdock sliced for boiling

1/2 lb burdock root,
peeled and sliced into thin coins
8 cups of curly dock leaves,
cut to bite-sized pieces
1 sweet onion, cut to small cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz grated mozzarella cheese, 2 oz set aside
4 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese,
or a mix of parmesan and romano
2 oz freshly grated asiago cheese
1 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, 
softened and cubed
1 tbs. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
butter or olive oil

  1. Add your thinly sliced burdock to a saucepan and cover with water. Add water to cover and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until your burdock is tender. This can take around 30 minutes, depending on how thinly you sliced.
  2. While the burdock is cooking, add a drizzle of olive oil or a pat of butter to a sauté pan. Add your minced garlic, cubed onion and a pinch of salt. Continue to sauté till onion is translucent and tender, about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add the curly dock and water to cover to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the greens are fully cooked. They will turn olive green, because of the oxalic acid responding to the heat. This is totally normal, and what you want to happen.
  4. Drain the greens and place in a large mixing bowl. Add your onion and garlic, mozzerella (except for the 2 oz you reserved), parmesan, asiago, sour cream, cream cheese, cumin, cayenne, black pepper and a half a teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. When the burdock is tender, drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut your burdock slices into small cubes or a large mince. Add to the cheese and greens, and mix.
    Minced burdock
  7. Grease an oven-proof dish. An 9 x 13 glass or ceramic baking dish is ideal. Pour in your mixture and spread it out evenly. 
  8. Sprinkle the reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Then dust lightly with paprika, this will mix with the melted cheese, into a beautiful rust color. 
    Left: dip pre-cooked. Right: covered in mozzarella and paprika, ready for the oven.
  9. Place in the oven and bake at 375 for 40 minutes, until the top cheese is melted and browned, and the inside is a gooey, cheesy, delicious treat. Enjoy double dock dip with veggies, pita points, tortilla chips, etc. If you have leftovers, it microwaves well.
Double dock dip: fresh out of the oven!

Full disclosure: I didn't dig up this burdock root. It's a huge pain to dig up, as it grows 2-3 feet long and prefers densely packed soil. Fortunately, it's important in Asian cuisine, and you can find it in specialty markets. It will sometimes be called Gobo, which is its name in Japanese.

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