Just try it!
One of the coolest things about being a Finder is discovering new and interesting ways to use the delightful ingredients provided by your local biosystem. Since you’re not paying “real money” for them, and since they’re such an uncharted territory, “wild” ingredients really lend themselves to surprising and cool culinary experiments.
Case in point: everybody knows how amazing dandelions are, and they’re one of the go-to easy greens for Finders, especially in the spring when the leaves are young and tender. The flowers can be made into wine, the roots are a good coffee substitute, &tc. &tc. &tc. But it appears the culinary virtues of this lovely plant are even more boundless than that. For example, did you know that dandelion petal ‘burgers’ are amazing?!
Seriously, I stumbled across this old post on a foraging blog:
It's game time. My boy is scheduled to take the mound today. I deliver the pep talk and then hand him a shot of…fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com
“Huh,” many would think, and just move along. But, if you’re like me, and I know some of you are, the first thought that goes through your head is, “HOLY CRAP I HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS!”
I have a yard full of dandelions, and one cup of packed flower petals was easy to procure. Yes, it was a little tedious removing the petals from the bracts, but I think eliminating about 85% of the green stuff didn’t impact the flavor negatively.
After that it was easy to follow the gist of the recipe. Add some bulk (I went with flour but the next batch will be experimenting with gluten-free options), add a binder (eggs), season accordingly (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, chili powder for a kick, no onions), make into patties, and fry in a couple of tbsps olive oil until browned on both sides and cooked through:
Most people tend to think of dandelions as bitter, but really it’s just the greens. I have a theory regarding why these patties were so flavorful, and it has to do with plant families. Dandelions are members of the Asteraceae family, along with artichokes and sunflowers. Members of this family have flowers that emerge from relatively dense, flavor-packed receptacles (think artichoke hearts). The silky texture of the dandelion petals when combined with the flavors in the receptacle mingle into the perfect flavor and texture:
For what it’s worth, many of the plants in this family share these characteristics. Keeping this in mind allows for excellent kitchen fun, and gives you clues as to flavor profiles of other members of these families. Maybe next time I’ll experiment with thistle flowers, since they’re also Asteraceae. IN FACT, as another culinary treat, you could even try braised sunflowers:
Learning the characteristics of plant families opens the mind and the palate to a sweeping panorama of flavor. It’s worth the time and effort to find out what plants are related to one another, and how we can take advantage of that vast web of connections. This is one of the ideas behind our Green Grimoire project:
Those invested in perusal of this Small Tome may inquire as to the Key, or Meaning, of the Spirits presented herein.medium.com
For more interesting experiments, don’t forget to follow Invironment, and thanks for reading!