For example, I figured I’d take my friend, Kira, with me to a prairie I had heard about. It’s a nature preserve, so the land has been untouched. I didn’t quite understand what that meant. All I read was flowers and plants and thought it was a great place to forage. How very wrong.
So, after driving 30 minutes and finding an overgrown, marshy, dense thicket of some dangerously high flora, my friend and I turned her SUV right around and went to someone with more experience: her dad.
I’ve been to her parents house several times, and her dad is almost always out in his yard gardening this or that. So I knew he’d have the answers (ah, small town, Midwestern life). He asked what I was looking for. Sorrel, I said. The rest went something like this.
And you went to a prairie?
Uh oh. Yes …
You should have taken her to our property near Delphi. She’d find plenty of sorrel in the woods there.
Clearly, I had not done enough research. Sigh. But we weren’t about to drive another 30 minutes, so her father graciously gave me a lesson on the plants in his yard and some to take home, too.
I did learn a few things, such as when someone hands you a knife and piles rhubarb in front of you, he expects you to cut the stalks. Doh. I also learned that asparagus is quite beautiful as it matures into what I’m calling a tree.
And at one point, I had to make a verbal contract agreeing that I would not sue him if I died from eating lamb’s quarters, which he believed were edible but couldn’t be sure of.
All told, I walked away with those three things, plus some dandelion greens and the sorrel I’d been looking for.
Finally, a plant with which I was unfamiliar. I wish I’d had more of it and more time to experiment because I can think of a hundred ways I’d like to use it. I guess there’s more foraging in my future after all.
Ultimately, I used the lemony sorrel with some green onion (I forgot the garlic) to create a compound butter, with which I topped my freshly picked asparagus before baking and dolloped on top of a seared ribeye.
Simple but so good.
The lamb’s quarter and dandelion greens made it into a blackberry and raspberry salad with almonds. I tried to make a vinaigrette, but it didn’t come together the way I had hoped, so the salad went bare.
Without the dressing, I’d never recommend that salad to anyone, haha. It needs something to balance the bitter dandelion greens and unite the other ingredients, including the lamb’s quarter, which tasted much like any other mild green (think spinach) but fuzzier. Yes, it has peachlike fuzz. No, I did not like it. As such, I am not going to include it in this recipe, which is going to be pretty straightforward as is (mostly because I did not make the butter from scratch. But it’s not too difficult if you have the time.).
Seared ribeye with sorrel and green onion butter
1 ribeye (I used bone-in)
1/4 cup sorrel
1/4 cup green onion
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
salt (I used Himalayan sea salt)
olive oil/butter for the pan
optional: garlic and onion powder
Mince sorrel and green onion. In a bowl, incorporate sorrel and green onion into the butter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the asparagus on a sheet of tin foil and top with about a tablespoon of the sorrel-green onion butter. Bake about 15 minutes until tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil/butter in a pan. Rub the ribeye with sea salt and pepper (add garlic powder and onion powder here, if you like). Sear the steak to your desired temperature. I like mine medium rare, which took about four minutes on each side. Let rest for a few minutes.
Serve steak with a dollop of the butter. If you have extra sorrel, you could mince that up for garnish, too.