Learning to Cook Wild Edibles

Recently, I got to teach a workshop for the Burlington High School Gardening Club. These kids are phenomenal: passionate about local foods and motivated to grow their own, they are growing seedlings in the campus greenhouse, converting unused school grounds to food production, acquiring bees, and getting ready to erect a hoop house that they will jointly invest in with students from neighboring Rock Point school. Go Burlington students!

The theme of our workshop was wild edibles. We made ramp pesto crostini and sautéed fiddlehead ferns (recipes below). Need I say that the students polished off every last bite? Here are some photos from the class:

Ramp Pesto with Pistachios

1 packed cup chopped ramp leaves (save the bulbs for cooking or pickling)
½ cup olive oil
3 Tbs. pistachios
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, combine chopped wild leek leaves and pistachios. Process until well blended.  Add olive oil through top of food processor in a slow and steady stream. Finally, add the Parmesan cheese and process until well blended. Serve with crusty bread brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven until golden. Serves 4-6.

From The Farmer’s Kitchen (Turkey Hill Farm)

Sautéed Fiddleheads

1 pound fiddleheads
¼ cup olive oil or butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
Splash of vinegar or white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove papery chaff from fiddleheads. Meanwhile, heat butter or olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté shallots and garlic until just softened. Mix together soy sauce, honey, and wine. Add to pan along with fiddleheads, turning to coat them well in the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, covering with a lid if necessary to cook through. Serve as a side dish or on top of rice. Serves 4.