Last week, I extolled the virtues of one of our favorite wild edibles, Wild Spinach. This versatile and healthy green can be used in a myriad of ways, but today I wanted to bring you our three favorites: straight-up in a salad, sauteed in a stir-fry, and baked in a savory pie. This post is a little longer, so hang on and see what recipe appeals to you!
Summery Wild Salad
Much of the time, when people hear “salad,” they may envision a dainty piece of porcelain filled with a handful of finely chopped greens and a nice dressing with three croutons. This type of salad doesn’t exist in our house. We make salads like we mean BUSINESS, and this is why our biggest bowls in the house are dual-dedicated as bread making/salad eating bowls. These are bowls big enough to hold an infant, or maybe a litter of kittens.
This is also why this recipe is in handfuls. I see salads as more of an art than a science.
--Handful Wild Spinach leaves, trimmed from the stalks and washed
--Handful of chopped Kale
--Double fistful of some sort of lettuce
--Optional Handful of Purslane and Woodsorrel (they’re two other wild edibles that are usually growing at the same time as the young spinach in our yard).
Mix-ins (pick and choose what sounds good/is available at the moment!)
--Carrot, sliced into thin rounds
--Celery, sliced in half long-ways and then chopped
--Chive Flowers (Yep! You can eat those.)
--Nasturtium Flowers (Yep! You can eat those too!)
--Garlicky Pickles, sliced thin (best if they’re ones you’ve made!)
--Dried cherries or dried blueberries
--Croutons (for homemade, slice some fresh whole wheat bread into cubes, toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices suit your fancy, spread on a cookie sheet, and toast in the oven at 300 ˚F until they are crispy!)
Dressing (keep it simple)
--Vinegar (Red Wine or Balsamic work well)
--Salt and Pepper
--Cumin and Dill, sprinkled on top
Super-Simple Stir Fry
A super-simple way to prepare any greens, this treatment works really well for wild spinach as well. While the Spinach will reduce a little, I find it doesn’t cook down nearly as drastically as conventional Spinach.
--Olive oil (at least a tablespoon)
--Salt and Pepper
--Minced Garlic (two cloves work, I usually do at least four!)
--As many wild Spinach leaves as you can fit in the pan, washed and trimmed from the stalks (you can include small stems in young leaves)
Warm some olive oil in a wok or a pan, adding the garlic and cooking until garlic is fragrant, but not browning. Add spinach leaves, sautéing over high heat until the spinach is dark, glossy green. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Totally Inauthentic Fatayer Pie
With a nod to Vanessa Barrington of the fabulous DIY Delicious book, I have merged her savory spinach pie recipe with my memories of the Lebanese/Egyptian fatayer pastry. Her recipe is simple and delicious, and you should check out her book from the library and rethink how you do meals in your house forever more. My recipe is totally inauthentic and probably is making some poor Middle Eastern grandmother out there shudder.
--2 cups whole-wheat flour
--1 t sea salt
--1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing later
--2/3 cup warm water
Mix together the flour and salt. Pour in the 1/3 c. olive oil and mix with either a wooden spoon or your hand until the oil is incorporated and the flour looks like moist sand. Add the 2/3 cup of warm water slowly, stirring until the dough starts to come together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and elastic (it should not be sticky). Divide into two portions, one larger than the other.
Flour your counter surface, then roll out the larger portion of dough into a shape slightly larger than your baking dish. Carefully shape it inside your dish, gently stretching and shaping as needed. The smaller portion of dough will be for the top crust. You can either roll it out now, or wait until you’ve filled the bigger piecrust.
--2 large eggs
--at least ½ cup of some sort of soft cheese (you can go up to 1 cup if you’re feeling super rich, though) I have used feta and goat cheese before. I imagine ricotta could also work really nicely.
--1 tablespoon Cumin
--1/2 a large onion or 1 medium onion, diced
--3 cloves of garlic, minced
--1 tablespoon Coriander
--1/4 tablespoon Cinnamon
--1 tablespoon Oregano
--1 tablespoon Hot Pepper Flakes (optional)
--Enough Wild Spinach to fill a plastic shopping bag (before trimming the leaves from the stems). If you can’t find enough, you can supplement with other veggies (see my note below).
First, preheat your oven to 400 ˚F
Warm some olive oil in a pan or wok, then add the onions and cook until they are starting to turn translucent. Add the garlic, and cook until all is fragrant and wonderful. Add the cleaned spinach, (any other veggies), and spices, and sauté until the all the spinach leaves have turned dark green. Taste and adjust spices as you feel led. When all tastes good, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for at least 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and cheese until they are well blended. Then, add the spinach mixture and mix well.
Spoon the green, mashy mess into your prepared pie crust and spread out evenly. Cover with your top pie crust and pinch the edges together (though in the photographed pie, I was making a smaller portion in a bread pan and merely folded it all shut.) With a fork, poke some vent holes into the top pie crust.
Bake for 40 minutes. Pull it out of the oven, brush the crust with a little more olive oil, then return to the oven for 15 more minutes or until the crust is nice and golden.
Let the pie sit for 5 minutes before you cut it to serve. If you are making a vegetarian meal of this, I imagine it would pair beautifully with a chunky and fresh Israeli salad.
Wrap and refrigerate any uneaten portions (if that even exists) and save for tomorrow’s breakfast, because this pie reheats fantastically in a toaster oven.
NOTE: A recipe like this has the potential to be a Clean-Out-the-Kitchen meal, and I am a huge fan of making sure that my produce doesn’t end up wasted. I often make these anti-garbage dishes when I notice that my fridge and my non-refrigerated produce shelf are starting to accumulate odds and ends of previous recipes or veggies that are nearing the brink of the compost pile.
When I made the pie that I’ve photographed to document my process, I threw in some green onions, the back end of a huge zucchini, and kale and mushrooms that were nearing the End, as well as the end of a block of mozzarella cheese and the last bit of a container of cream cheese. I could have gone out and bought feta cheese, but why do that when there was perfectly good cheese waiting already?
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
|Simple Life Homestead||
Simple Life Homestead