Have you ever had the urge to venture into the woods, backyard, or highway median and eat the stuff you find growing there?
No? Just me?
Well, if there are any curious would-be foragers out there I’ve put together a quick and easy recipe featuring a really common foraged green, wild spinach, aka lambs quarter. It also features some quick pickled red onions, pickled brussels sprout leaves, charred green beans, and broccoli sprouts. This one is really pretty and light and would make a nice start to your next dinner with friends and it pairs really well with sauvignon blanc.
> Green Beans, .25#, ends trimmed, blanched and shocked
> Red Onion, .25 EA., thinly sliced
> Brussels Sprouts, .125#, blanched and shocked, leaves removed
> Wild Spinach (lambs quarter), .5#, washed and dried in even layers
> Broccoli Sprouts, .125#, cleaned and dried
> Apple Melon, .25 EA., oblique cut
> Pistachios, 5 EA., shells removed and meat crushed
> White Vinegar, .25 C.
> Sugar, 1 T.
> Safflower, to garnish
> Sea Salt , TT
> Lime, 1 EA., juiced
> Champagne Vinegar, 1 t.
> Honey, 1 t.
> Olive Oil
> Sweet Cicely Root, .25″ piece, washed
Wash your damn hands! Combine the white vinegar and sugar in a small pan until just about to boil. Pour the sugar-vinegar mixture over the red onions and brussels sprout leaves. Let them sit at least 20 minutes up to 3 hours. Drain the liquid and reserve the onions and brussels.
Next, char the green beans. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the green beans and let them char for a couple of minutes, tossing every minute or so. Because we blanched the beans before we aren’t really cooking them, just getting them nice and dark. Remove the beans from the pan and season them with sea salt.
To make the dressing, combine lime juice, honey, grated sweet cicely root, and champagne vinegar in a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Season with kosher salt to taste. Set the dressing aside.
To plate, toss the apple melon, green beans, and pistachios together with some of the dressing. Place the wild spinach around the plate, then add the green beans, melon, and nuts. Arrange the pickled vegetables and sprouts next. Finally, garnish with the safflower. Serve right away.
* A note on some of the ingredients in this recipe, specifically the apple melon and the sweet cicely. The apple melon can be substituted for any easier to find apple. The melon has a more mild, more-melon-like flavor.The sweet cicely is another foraged ingredient and has a flavor like really mild anise or black licorice. You can substitute anise or just exclude if that flavor isn’t your thing. The safflower is just a pretty garnish and doesn’t change the flavor at all.
Lastly, if your really want to try the salad exactly as you see it, and you live in Columbus, Ohio, you can find all of the ingredients at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market. The sweet cicely and the wild spinach are available from our friend Kate at Foraged & Sown, a produce vendor who specializes in foraged greens, roots, and flowers found all across central Ohio.
As always, if you make this or any other Wanderlünch recipe, let us know how you liked it in the comments section.