May. 16, 2012

Foraged Feasts

by Leslie Taylor

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Coming up this Friday as part of a story on urban agriculture we'll talk with Tama Matsuoka Wong, author of Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer's Market. Wong is the forager for Daniel, the flagship restaurant of renowned chef Daniel Boulud. In the book, she and Eddy Leroux, the restaurant's chef de cuisine, introduce a range of edible wild plants and share recipes that showcase the unique ingredients' flavors. They've agreed to give Science Friday fans a special preview and share the details of two of their delicious concoctions with us. Yum!

Chickweed Crostini
Chickweed and other wild greens make a fresh-tasting topper for toast, bruschetta, or an English muffin. Eddy loves this crostini appetizer with tangy Gorgonzola and walnuts for both spring and fall.
Serves 4
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces (about ½ loaf) country bread, baguette, or other crusty bread, sliced 1 inch thick
1 small white onion, chopped
1 ounce (1 ¼ cups) tender chickweed greens or other wild green such as gallium or cress, plus more for serving
1 ½ ounces Gorgonzola or other tangy blue cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat; add the bread, pressing down on the slices. Toast each side until lightly browned.
2. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the chickweed and cook for a few minutes, or until tender and bright green.
3. Meanwhile, in a small pot, melt the Gorgonzola and cream over low heat.
4. Spoon equal portions of the chickweed on top of each bread slice and drizzle with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with walnuts and a few raw sprigs of chickweed and serve.
Wild Mustard Greens with Chorizo Wild Rice

The dish makes a one-pot meal, hearty and loaded with flavor. The taste of the mustard volleys back and forth between that of the chorizo and wild rice. My daughters liked this so much they made it several times during our recipe testing, substituting different mustards for variety.

Serves 4

1 cup wild rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
3 sprigs of thyme
2 garlic cloves, 1 whole and 1 chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces spicy cured chorizo (not raw sausage), cut into ½-inch dice (1/2 cup)
2 small onions, diced
3 ounces (4 cups packed) wild mustard or yellow rocket leaves
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar

1. In a medium pot, combine the rice, chicken stock, 2 cups water, the thyme, and the whole garlic clove. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the rice is tender.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and chorizo over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the chopped garlic and the onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the mustard leaves, season with salt, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar.

3. When the rice is done, stir the mustard and chorizo mixture into the wild rice and broth. Serve hot.
About Leslie Taylor

Leslie is the online editor at and She has a background in oceanography and is passionate about getting non-scientists and young people to realize how cool science can be. She is also Science Friday's former web editor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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