Eating From the Wild 

Each spring my interest in eating from the wild resurfaces. My thoughts go to finding those delicious wild morel mushrooms in the woods which we always called sponge mushrooms. I love cooking a fresh wild dandelion recipe with crispy fried bacon and onions. It is always a thrill to find fresh asparagus growing along the roads to bring home to prepare. These are all delicacies!


The best thing about eating from the wild is finding morel mushrooms. Like I said before, we use to call these sponge mushrooms because that is what they look like. You do have to be careful about picking wild mushrooms because many are poisonous. The morel mushroom is the only one I am sure of so I stick to these. The flavor is so delicious.


The coloring and shape of the morel mushrooms vary according to the kind of morel mushroom that is in season. Mushroom season is from the first thaw to the hot days of summer. The dark gray to black cone heads comes up first; then the rounder ones come up with the coloring from dark brown, beige or blonde. Huge morels signal the end of the season. My brother has found them as large as a basket.

Recently I was in the mood for eating from the wild so I went out looking for morel mushrooms. I came back with a bag of these delectable delicacies. I soaked them in cold salt water about 15 minutes to chase out any little critters that might be hiding in the sponge like holes; then I washed them in cold clean water. After dipping them in egg and water mixture I rolled them in seasoned flour (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder). I fried them on medium high heat in a mixture of oil and a little butter. How delicious! They went so quickly that I did not even get a picture of the finished product.


My mom always made a practice of eating from the wild. She looked forward every year for the first signs of dandelions to pop up in the spring. Isn’t it amazing how we now put poison out to kill the dandelions in our yards? Years ago before we became so prosperous, wild foods like dandelion greens and fresh asparagus were a source of necessary food for survival. My mom knew the importance of these foods and the important nutritional value of them.


Except for the flower stem, every part of the dandelion is edible when collected in season and properly prepared. Dandelion flowers can be fried and served as appetizers. Dandelion blossoms are made into world famous flower wine. The leaves of the dandelion are very rich in Vitamin A so dishes of dandelion greens is what I remember most that my mom prepared. The following is how Mom prepared them when eating from the wild.

DANDELION RECIPE Simple way of eating from the wild

  • (Balance bacon and onions to how many dandelion greens used)
  • Fry bacon until crisp and remove from skillet.
  • Chop onion in the bacon drippings and sauté.
  • Place clean washed dandelion leaves in a large kettle; chop cooked bacon over top.
  • Dump onion and bacon drippings over the greens; add a little water.
  • Cover pot and steam until greens are tender and wilted.
  • Season with salt and pepper; serve hot.

SEA BASS RECIPE with a mushroom cream sauce recipe

You will enjoy eating from the wild when you taste this elegant sea bass recipe topped with a wild mushroom cream sauce recipe.

  • 1 Bunch thinly sliced chives (separate and reserve 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ Cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Bass filets 6 ounces each (If you really enjoy eating from the wild, catch your own fresh fish).
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Large chopped shallot
  • 12 Ounces small morel mushrooms (clean by soaking in salt water, rinse and drain)
  • ¼ Cup dry white wine
  • 1 Cup light cream
  • ¼ Cup chicken broth

Combine remaining chopped chives (all but 3 tablespoons) and ¼ cup olive oil in blender.
Process mixture until oil is bright green and chives are pureed; strain through a sieve.
Rub both sides of bass filets with the tarragon; season with salt and pepper.
Arrange fillets on a greased baking sheet; drizzle fish with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Cover and refrigerate until needed; preheat oven to 400F degrees.
Melt butter in large heavy skillet until foaming; add shallot and cook until wilted.
Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté until lightly browned; increase heat to high and pour in the wine.
Boil mixture until almost entirely evaporated; pour in the cream and the broth.
Boil until sauce is reduce to about ½ cup and thickened enough to coat a spoon.
Stir in the reserved chives and set aside.
Bake fish fillets in preheated oven until a trace of opaqueness remains in the center about 6 minutes.
Transfer fish fillets to serving dishes; spoon sauce and mushrooms over the fish.
Drizzle with chive oil and serve immediately.


DANDELION GREENS RECIPE

When I was growing up Mom always practiced eating from the wild by making dandelion recipes every spring. Pick about ½ pound of young tender dandelion greens; ones before they have blooms. Cover them in a pan of cold water; remove any discolored or broken leaves. Rinse 3 times in salt water to remove any dirt. Drain on paper towels until dry. Toss in a salad bowl with the following dandelion dressing.

Dandelion Dressing:

  • 1 Beaten egg
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Chopped hard cooked eggs
  • 4 Strips crisply cooked bacon crumbled

Combine beaten egg, flour and salt; stir in vinegar, sugar and water.
Bring mixture to a boil in saucepan; let cool.
Stir in bacon and chopped eggs.


SCALLOPED MUSHROOM CASSEROLE RECIPE

  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Cups French bread crumbs
  • ½ Cup melted butter
  • ½ Cup dry white wine
  • Salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Place 1/3 of mushrooms in bottom of buttered casserole baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1/3 of bread crumbs; pour 1/3 of melted butter over bread crumbs.
Top with ½ of sour cream.
Repeat layers and place remaining 1/3 of mushrooms on the top; pour wine over all.
Season with salt and pepper; cover and bake 25 minutes.

Mix remaining crumbs and butter and lay on top of casserole; bake another 10 minutes.

› Eating Wild

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