A backyard adventure in search of purslane with a professional forager who supplies wild plants to some of New York City's top chefs.
'foraging' on Serious Eats
Truffles are, weight for weight, one of the most expensive foods available. And for good reason: It's not just the tuber's rarity, taste, or smell...the speciality of this earthy treasure also has a lot to do with the chase. On a trip to Marche, Italy, we were lucky enough to meet a team of locals and hunt down two of our own (and eat many, many more).
The San Francisco food scene is a remarkably fluid thing—it seems that every week a few notable chefs have begun residency somewhere new, and it's nearly impossible to keep up with all the popups around town. Chef Iso Rabins, the mastermind behind Wild Kitchen and ForageSF, is something of a fixture in this scene.
Mulberries are in season now all over New York. You've probably passed by them a million times without knowing it: the tell-tale sign is a messy, sticky sidewalk splattered with dark, squashed fruit, and likely a preponderance of birds in the tree above. They're great in jam. Next time you pass a mulberry tree, take some home and try this recipe.
When Jen Lighty began selling foraged seaweed on Block Island, Rhode Island, four years ago, "people were absolutely revolted." Seaweed has an image problem, and no matter how much nori-wrapped sushi Americans relish eating, the plant on its own was a tough sell.
We went on a moral-foraging trip to Washington along with forager Langdon Cook, author of the book Fat of the Land. We went into the Eastern Cascades, many miles up the mountains and into a "burn zone." Many of the morels sold across the nation come from burn zones.
Fennel pollen is a trendy spice, bandied about in cheffy circles and locavore/forager networks. In an article for Saveur, the food writer Peggy Knickerbocker waxes poetic, "if angels sprinkled a spice from their wings, this would be it." This is only slight hyperbole. Fennel pollen is an incredibly powerful spice, with notes of licorice, citrus, and handmade marshmallows. It tastes like pure summer joy.
In this video from the Perennial Plate series, we meet a man who lives out of his truck (and camping), teaches at The University of New Mexico about wild greens, and forages from the mountains.
It's an amazing thing to walk down the street and to pick up a weed or a flower and eat it; it's a skill that I started off knowing little about, but have come to appreciate more and more. This episode of The Perennial Plate explores some of the common edibles that you may see around town or in the woods—and shows you how to cook some of the greens.
Add "cat tails" to the roster of foraged foods like ramps, fiddleheads, morels, and wild garlic, that spring brings to market. Cat tails are also known as, "broadleaf bulrush," common bulrush, broadleaf cattail, common cattail, or cat-o'-nine-tails. One word or two, opinion seems to be divided. They have a cucumber-like flavor with a heart of palm texture. You can use them like leeks, about the first ten inches, and you can use them raw. You can saute them, bake them or use them in a stir fry.
This week we bring you something a little bit different from our typical Meet Your Farmers profiles. Avia Hawksworth isn't a farmer. She's the forager for the newly-opened Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, California. That means she sources local ingredients for the always-rotating menu and educates diners on where they're food is coming. Chez Panisse was first to start a "forager" position back in the 1970s.
These days, everyone seems to have an opinion on ramps; but one voice has been markedly absent from the conversation. That's right. It's the ramps themselves, of course. As you'll see, they've got plenty of substance, and they're as surprised as anyone by their success.
In this week's edition of Meet Your Farmers, we meet David Falkowski, known to Long Island locals as "Mushroom Dave." He's been growing, foraging, and selling quality mushrooms in Bridgehampton, New York, since 2003. You also may recognize him from an episode of Barefoot Contessa when Ina Garten spotlighted his oyster mushrooms in her lasagna.
Dandelions are delicious and so dang nutritious that they make super foods look like wimps. Here are some tips on picking and cooking them from foraging expert Langdon Cook.