Saturday, May 8, 2010

better than...

Remember this plant that
I finally identified as a
garlic mustard plant? Well...
look out basil, this is our
new favourite pesto maker!
And it's free for the taking,
tons of it. Actually, it's an
invasive weed. The nearby
town of Lincoln has an
annual garlic mustard pull,
collecting hundreds of
trash bags full of the stuff.
But what do they do with it once they've pulled it all? I'm sure some people realize what good culinary potential it has.

Using the upper leaves and the clump of flower buds before they'd bloomed, I whipped up this pesto that got raves from my husband...

Garlic Mustard Pesto

1 cup garlic mustard
1/2 cup walnuts
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 T. vegan parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash the garlic mustard.
Drain and place in a food
processor with remaining
ingredients, adding the olive
oil last as it purees.

I serve it with chopped
tomato over whole grain pasta. It's also great with fresh bread.

Garlic mustard is ridiculously easy to find, but my favourite mushrooms are not. In fact I have not found them since moving to this area. I was super excited to find a log full of them last week, but of course I only had my camera phone and I don't have those pics to show yet. But I got some pics while prepping them at home that evening...

Here they are, washed and
trimmed, ready to be sliced
and then cooked. They are
commonly known as "chicken
mushrooms" or "sulphur
mushrooms" or even "chicken
of the woods". Laetiporus is
an easy to identify edible
shelf mushroom, often found on rotting oak trees growing in large shelf-like clumps or "brackets". This was a very fresh batch, as it had just stopped raining for 2-3 days the day before, and it was a nice warm humid spring day. I picked about what I knew we could eat right away, but I have frozen the raw mushrooms in the past with good results.

Here's how I prepared them...great for eating with a dollop of sour creme and/or avocado, or using as a fajita filling.

Shelf Mushroom Saute

2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bell peppers, sliced
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
2-3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. lime juice
1 T. chopped cilantro

In a large non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, saute for a few minutes until they begin to soften, stirring often. Add garlic, saute for another couple of minutes. Add bell peppers, cayenne, salt, & mushrooms. When mushrooms are cooked through (about 5 minutes), add lime juice. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, serve.


Unknown said...

Wow the pesto looks amazing! I had never even heard of garlic mustard before! So cool that it is growing so readily :D

Erin said...

I've never heard of garlic mustard either - the pesto sounds fantastic! And the mushroom dish looks awesome too.