Author Notes: When the farmer’s market first opened in my little town, years ago, there was a stall that sold a mixture of cooked wild greens in hand-lettered tubs. The vendors were long haired and colorfully-clothed and handed out enough free samples the first week that it was soon commonplace for them to be cleaned out within the first hour of the market. When the greens season was over, they vanished. The next year I found them at a different market, and then I never saw them again. The ingredients here sound like hippie food, and I should know, but I can tell you the result is an addictive and delicious, tonic and memorable food for all. Lamb’s quarters pop up around the time that nettles do, and you’ll know them by their purplish leaf bases and a funny kind of beadiness or powder on the undersides of the leaves. This is heaven on little ciabatta toasts or crackers. —a raisin + a porpoise
Makes: about a cup and a half
bunch ramps, or substitute a couple cloves of garlic and some chives orgreen onions
bunch nettles, tender tops only
bunch of lamb’s quarters, or substitute baby spinach
teaspoons nutritional yeast
teaspoons tamari or light soy sauce
- Wash the nettles very, very, very well, and carefully (remembering that nettles stings are reported to cure joint pain). Wash the lamb’s quarters or spinach. Clean the ramps and chop the bulbs and leaves separately.
- Bring a 2 quart pot of water to boil and salt it with a fat pinch. Drop in the nettles and cook for a minute, then drop in the more tender lamb’s quarters and/or spinach. Stir a few times and then drain, rinsing under cool water to refresh. Coarsely chop and reserve. The cooking water is full of nutrients and is tasty is stock or soup.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and sauté the ramp bulbs until they soften. Add the ramp greens, and a few stirs later, the reserved chopped greens. Add a tablespoon or so of water to smooth it out and simmer over low heat until everything is quite tender and still bright green and not terribly wet. Remove to a food processor and add the nutritional yeast (I know it smells weird, but trust me) and tamari, and pulse to a thick purée. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, to your taste.
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