Monday, May 14, 2012

Dandelion Green and Fiddlehead Scoff with Pagan Gravy

Scoff with dandleion greens, turnip, and fiddleheads with ridiculous gravy.

Oh geez, it's springtime! Sure, it's been spring for a while, but now spring FOOD is available in abundance! I felt like a failure that I didn't nab some fiddleheads last week when they were first available, but I had a busy start at the Halifax Seaport Market and didn't get away to grab some. At least I got some rhubarb when it first came out!

Anyway, first thing this Saturday I got some fiddleheads from Selwood Green, as well as some dandelion greens! This morning, after a weekend with too much sweet stuff, I wanted a nice pure, cleansing first meal. As I mentioned in a post last year, most people sautee fiddleheads with some combination of salt and pepper, butter, lemon and vinegar. And while there's something to be said for tradition, I like to explore other ways to prepare dishes that have always been eaten the same. damn. way. 

I remembered writing down a recipe in probably 2005 that I'd never bothered to make called "Dandelion Scoff" from an awesome vegan cookbook from Newfoundland called "The Eldamar Cookbook" published in 1995 that my friends Mat and Dave featured on their awesome vegan radio show Let's Get Baked.  Anyway, basically it suggests you steam a bunch of dandelions and other vegetables and then pour some "Pagan Gravy" over it. I'm in so far. 

So here's my adaptation of "Pagan Gravy" for a single serving:

Pagan Gravy

Saute 1 clove of garlic (you could also use an onion, but this, as I've mentioned before, pretty much an onion-free house :) in 1 tbsp. of warmed olive oil. Add 1/4 tsp of savoury (I used winter savoury that we grew last year) and 1/4 tsp sage and stir. Add 2-3 T. of bragg seasoning or if you're lucky enough to have some-- Bernard Jensen's broth seasoning and stir. If you don't have either, just use a good quality tamari or other soy saue. Stir in 2 T. of chickpea flour-- it will be probably form a big lump. Be careful to not let it burn. Sloooowly add up to a cup or so of water, stirring constantly. The gravy will thicken, then even moreso as it cools. Add 1-2 T. of nutritional yeast if desired, and a dash o' tamari and some sea salt and pepper if you like. 

Now you have a bunch of greens and gravy and your day will rule. You just ate wild edibles* which is super awesome. High five yourself! 

*WARNING: Be careful when eating wild edibles. While there aren't too too many that are poisonous, some are. Don't just eat whatever the heck you find growing outside, and if you're choosing a new wild edible at the market, ask the farmer before you prepare it. This won't only ensure you prepare it safely, but also in a recipe that's delicious!

Make sure you cook fiddleheads before you eat them, as they have a mild toxin.  Health Canada recommends that fresh fiddleheads "be washed in several changes of cold water. They should then be cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes or steamed for 10 to 12 minutes until tender. Water used for boiling or steaming fiddleheads should be discarded as it may contain the toxin. Fiddleheads should also be boiled or steamed prior to sautéing, frying or baking."

Also, although dandelions aren't poisonous, beware of eating too many dandelions at once. They're stimulating to the liver and eating too many can cause vomiting and possibly other symptoms. Eating any reasonable amount won't do this, but I've had personal experience with this happening (I ate an unreasonable amount), and have heard of it happening to others. Dandelion greens are a very healthy food and wonderful for spring cleaning your body. Just don't eat a whole bag at once. Trust me.


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