I’ll admit, I am not so good at this foraging thing.
Two weeks in, and I’ve been able to find only common plants I already knew were edible. While I am more than happy to write about them, since I haven’t used them in a recipe before, I was hoping to find something a little more obscure to try out.
Maybe next week.
This past week, however, I took my dog, Sadie, on a bit of a hike along the Wildcat Creek trail. While she sniffed around for god knows what, I poked and prodded at plants I thought might be edible. I walked away with four flowers, two of which I knew were edible and two I knew nothing about.
Thank goodness for Google. One I discovered was poisonous to animals and the other, well, that one I had trouble putting a name to and had to discard as well.
I was left with violets and dandelions. The violets I planned to candy, but that didn’t work out terribly well. The wild flowers were small and delicate, making them difficult to coat and sugar. But I’m still determined to make a dessert with them one day, so keep your eyes peeled.
So, the dandelions.
I considered using the leaves in a pesto or similar recipe, but I didn’t like the look of the leaves. Instead, I grabbed a few of the flower heads, which I thought might complement the salmon I was craving.
All in all, I am not sure the dandelion added much to the dish. While the leaves can be bitter, the flower lacked a distinct flavor. Of course, I did give them a good ol’ deep fry that might have nullified any flavor. I do wonder now if they would have been better suited as a garnish as is. (Certainly would have looked nicer.)
So, I suppose I can’t outright endorse eating the weed, but then again, why not? Fried up, with a pinch of salt, these could easily be a cheap, bite-sized snack.
Mustard- and maple-glazed salmon with rice and fried dandelion
2 center-cut pieces of salmon (about 3/4 pound)
about 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
about 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup jasmine rice
1 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
The fried dandelion
25 (or more) dandelion flower heads
2 heaping tablespoons of flower
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pinch of salt
1/4-1/3 cup beer (bring the batter to the consistency you like)
Bring the stock to a boil in a pot. Add rice, bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir and cover.
Heat about a pint of oil in a small pot until water sizzles when it hits the surface.
Prepare your batter. Mix dry ingredients together, then add the beer.
Depending on how you like your salmon prepared, I’d recommend either removing the skin or scraping the back of it to remove any excess scales. I typically remove the skin, but I wanted to sear it crispy for this plate.
In a small bowl, mix the mustard and maple syrup together. I prefer the mustard as the dominant flavor. I don’t like it too sweet, and adding too much maple syrup will do that.
Coat the salmon with the mustard-maple glaze. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a pan over medium heat. Sear the skin side until crispy and the top until the salmon is about medium (some darker pink in the middle).
Drop the dandelions in the batter and coat. Carefully place each one in the hot oil and cook about 30 seconds, turning them once halfway through.
Lay rice down, top with salmon and the fried dandelion. (I’d recommend serving with a salad or other green, perhaps some asparagus.) Enjoy!