Mirin has been reading a lot of survival books to himself lately – Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, and Julie Of the Wolves. He’s been inspired to forage in the forest and ditches. We certainly do stop to scrump wild plums, harvest wild grapes, mushrooms, betany roots, etc, but I usually draw the line at the roadsides.
First of all, there’s the lead levels to worry about, but also being the child of field biologists, I have some childhood trauma of being stranded on roadsides with the Lepidopterist’s Society, and trying to look discreet while people in passing cars stare in horror at the geeks wielding butterfly nets, storming a vacant lot with plastic containers and envelopes. There was once when I was in high school, and my dad pulled over along University Avenue to rescue a rare plant from the yard of a sorority house…I almost DIED of embarrassment.
So when Mirin suggested we go harvest wild garlic along the roadside, I was not enthusiastic. But when we scoped it out, I could see that the wild garlic was growing a decent distance from the road, so I gave the okay. Armed with containers and trowels, Mirin and Rose jumped out and began pulling wild garlic, while I tried to smile in a friendly and nonchalant way at passers-by. I came up with a good excuse if anyone stopped, thinking we might be stranded, “My children are doing a homeschool project on edible plants….” I think there’s a lot you can get away with for home schooling.
But no one stopped. And the wild garlic tastes amazing. If you have no easy access to wild garlic, or an aversion to roadside harvesting, you can also use regular garlic, shallot or onion for the recipe.
Early Summer Quiche With Basil And Wild Garlic
1/2 cup cream
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup goat cheese or kefir cheese
5-6 leaves fresh basil, sliced thin
2 medium zucchini
4-5 wild garlic bulbs
salt and pepper
- Slice the zucchini very thin with a sharp knife.
- Butter a pie pan and lay the zucchini slices in a single layer with over-lapping edges all over the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Season the cheese to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh basil. Crumble into the pie pan in an even layer.
- Beat the eggs with a small pinch of salt and the cream until uniformly yellow and creamy. Pour over the cheese in the pie pan. Slice wild garlic bulbs and sprinkle on top. I also like to add a few grinds of black pepper.
- Bake at 350 F for about 25-35 minutes, until set.