Wild Foods Adding A Little Variety To Your Plate

Often those who advocate wild foods and wild ingredients are seen as either slightly worthy or slightly weird. It can frequently be perceived that such proponents of wild foods want you to whole-heartedly and completely change your lifestyle to eating nothing but wild foods.

You are welcome to do this, if you so desire, but that's definitely not the point of the wild food movement at all. It's partly about increasing people's views of nature and the natural world. After all, if you naturally add wild ingredients to your overall larder then you will appreciate nature and what it can do for your. Nature no longer becomes an enemy or something you have to fight with. Rather the wild world becomes an extension of your environment. Something useful that you can dip into to extend the types of food available to you.

You can build a meal based on nothing but wild foods. Or, you can go into the wild and source things like young linden (lime tree) leaves or wild herbs for use in a salad or recipe as a simple addition.

Here I present two wild food dishes. A salad that includes almost nothing but wild-sourced foods and a main course includes a few wild-sourced ingredients as additions to he list of overall ingredients.

Salad of Wild Leaves

Ivy-leaved toadflax leaves
Wild chervil
Hairy Bittercress
Wild Lamb's Lettuce
Wood Sorrel
100g chopped cos lettuce
100g rocket

You will need to collect about 200g of the wild leaves. Was them well then toss all the leaves together and dress with a classic vinaigrette.

Plantain and Chicken

2 chicken breasts
3 tbsp seasoned plain flour
butter or oil for frying
4 bacon rashers, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 generous handfuls of greater plantain leaves (pick only young leaves or the tips of older leaves
2 glasses dry white wine
generous pinch of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
salt and black pepper, to taste

Trim the plantain leaves by removing the stringy stalks. Shred the leaves across the width of the leaves (so that you have about three strips per leaf). Drop into rapidly-boiling lightly-salted water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and refresh the leaves under cold water then set aside to drain.

Dust the chicken with the seasoned flour and set aside. Add the butter or oil to a pan and use to fry the bacon until cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside then transfer the chicken to the pan and fry until browned all over then remove and set aside. Gently fry the onion in the pan until softened then add the bacon and stir-in. Raise the heat a little the nadd the wine, herbs and cloves. Season the sauce then add the chicken. Allow to cook for 15 minutes then squeese any excess moisture from the plantain leaves and add to the pan. Gently stir-fry to combine and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve immediately with rice or mashed sweet potatoes.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans has particular passion for incorporating wild-sourced ingredients into modern cooking. He has created a Guide to Wild Foods and Recipes and you can find many more recipes incorporating wild ingredients in his Recipes for Wild Foods pages, all are part of the Celtnet Recipes and Cooking site.