Do you like foraging? So you’ve picked a lot of elderflower, sow thistle, dandelion… now what to do with all these foraged foods?
If you need some inspiration, here are 3 ideas on cooking with foraged ingredients. I am having a lot of fun coming up with new recipes based on old classics – I am sure you will start having just as much fun in the kitchen as I do.
From sweet to savoury flavours, the flowers, berries, roots and vegetables you picked along the way in your foraging trips can create the tastiest dishes. What I have discovered to be extremely useful when brainstorming ideas for new recipes is to look at other foragers’ feeds on instagram: there’s a very friendly community there where we exchange information about foraged foods and their uses.
Acacia Shortbread Biscuits
The great thing about acacia flowers is that they are naturally very sweet, so you don’t need to use as much sugar in recipes.
Makes 16 biscuits
Acacia Shortbread Biscuits Ingredients
40 gr acacia flowers
100 gr unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
100 gr plain flour
20 gr sugar
1 pinch salt
4 tablespoons of water
Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl to form a dough that is quite crumbly. Try not to work it too much with your hands as you don’t want to melt the butter.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Roll out into 16 balls (about the size of a golf ball each) then flatten them and put them on a greased baking tray (or you could use a silicone mat to prevent sticking). I prefer to make the biscuits look rustic but if you prefer you can roll them out with a rolling pin then cut them into circles with a cookie cutter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes checking regularly that they don’t get too brown. Leave to cool completely.
If you have never baked shortbread biscuits, remember not to work the mixture too much with your hands as the heat from your hands will melt the butter and the biscuits will not become crumbly after baking.
Marinated Salmon Wrapped in Wild Garlic
Wrapping a piece of salmon in wild garlic allows for subtle flavours to develop.
The recipe is for 1 portion.
Salmon Wrapped in Wild Garlic Ingredients
100 gr salmon fillet
½ lemongrass stalk, cut into strips
½ lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ green birdseye chilli, chopped
3 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon wild chervil seeds
8 wild garlic leaves
Marinate the salmon in the fridge for 2 hours with lemon juice, lemongrass, soy sauce, chilli, ginger and chervil seeds.
Cut a piece of kitchen foil big enough to make a parcel for the salmon. Place the marinated salmon in the middle and wrap it with wild garlic leaves, then close the foil parcel. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.
Serving suggestions: serve with wild rocket salad.
Cooking times may vary according to the thickness of the salmon so allow for extra time for a thicker portion.
Mixed Foraged Vegetables Loaf
You know those days when your foraging bounty is just a mix bunch of vegetables, or maybe you have some mixed foraged vegetables in the fridge but you don’t know what to do with them? Well, I have a solution: turn them into a loaf, a savoury dish baked in the oven in a loaf tin.
Vegetable Loaf Ingredients
150 gr mixed foraged vegetables (Alexanders, common sorrel, dandelion, sow thistle), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
20 gr butter (plus 5-10 gr more to add at the end)
20 gr plain flour
100 ml milk (or coconut milk)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
You can use the same pan if you want to save on the washing up, or use two pans at the same time: in one you cook the vegetables and the other one you make a bechamel sauce. I used the same pan.
Cook the mixed vegetables in a little water for 10 minutes, then drain and blend with a mixer. Cook the shallots in oil for 5 minutes on a medium heat until transparent and slightly golden. Add the blended vegetables aiming to reduce the liquid as much as possible (about 5 minutes).
Take the vegetables out and leave to cool. Add the egg plus half another egg (mix two eggs together in a bowl, then pour in with the vegetables leaving some of it for another recipe. If you prefer, simply use 2 eggs).
Prepare the bechamel sauce: in a pan on a low to medium heat, cook the flour and butter until you create a paste, then add the milk. Continue cooking until you get a smooth cream, then take off the heat. Once cooled, add to the vegetables and eggs, mixing well together.
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Butter a loaf tin all around to prevent the loaf from sticking, pour in the vegetables mixture and add a few small pieces of butter on top which will create a golden crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, take out of the oven for 5 minutes and serve.
You can choose to have a moister loaf or a drier loaf according to the cooking times. If you bake it for 25 minutes it will be soft, and for more than 30 minutes will have a nice crust. Just keep checking though to prevent it from getting too brown.
Need More Inspiration?
For more recipes see my book The Foraging Home Cook, available from Amazon.