Hannah here: We're thrilled to welcome our friends at Fore Adventure back to the blog to share a Spring recipe. Our monthly cake feature has gone out of the window recently as we've both been too busy (it will return, it will!) so we are extra excited to have a recipe on the blog again. How good does this sound! They talk about the health benefits of Cleavers which I had no idea about, and find geekily exciting. I am learning more and more about the natural healing properties of plants and it's pretty amazing. I am currently on an elimination diet to sort out my dodgy lymph system (recurrent tonsillitis etc) so this is perfect for me at the moment. I'm going to get foraging this week. Thanks pals!
A cleaver cleanser in the shape of our wild salsa verde.
Spring has sprung! It’s that time of year when you can happily shrug your coat off on your afternoon strolls and you are forever in a quandary over what shoes to wear, when you can (just about) walk along the beach barefoot with the heat of the sun low in the sky on the back of your neck...we love these happy days in Dorset, for us the simple things are the best things and this recipe is one of those.
We are surrounded by new beginnings in our little patch of wild at this time of year, the carpet of wild garlic, the tender nettles that have sprung from nowhere, the wood sorrel with a hint of apple, a fresh zest of lemon. To me this is the time that foraging gets truly exciting. If you eat green, this ones for you.
One of this recipes main ingredients is cleavers, Galium aparine, the sticky back herb that hitchhikes it’s way around using it’s zillions of tiny hairs, it’s usually one of the first wild herbs we find in spring around March time and can be found growing close to it’s pal the common nettle. Now is a great time to pick Cleavers and you can eat them raw as they are still tender enough, not only are they tasty but they are clever little shoots, well known for their medicinal properties.
Cleavers (below) work their magic in 2 ways, to stimulate your lymph nodes to remove waste materials into the blood stream and to cleanse and nourish your blood to clear them. Without getting too technical on you, this enables your lymphatic system (the bodies mechanism for discharging toxins) to function better. When you have a back up of toxins you feel sick and tired, achy and slow, sound familiar? [Yes! so interesting!]
Together with three cornered garlic and nettles, which go in pretty much everything we feast on at fore hutquarters, as they grow in abundance around us and are so simple to forage, this is a deliciously fresh green and wieldy way to create a super supper that there is simply no excuse not to.
So here you have it, wild salsa verde that not only works it’s magic on your taste buds but gives your body a kickstart too. I’d say that was a pretty perfect way to welcome in Spring and say goodbye to the winter blues and I have a hunch you might agree once you’ve given it a whirl….
Time: 10 minutes (depending on your knife skills!)
Makes: enough to fill a jamjar of loveliness
A large bunch of wild herbs
Small handful of Cornichons
Small handful of Capers
4-6 Anchovy Fillets
8 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 garlic clove (we don’t bother if we are using three cornered garlic)
1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (you can use red aswell)
salt and pepper to season
Gather and wash your herbs, we used Cleavers, Three Cornered Garlic & Nettles, but anything goes; salsa verde is routinely made with parsley, but we have used a whole array of greens in the past from Sorrel, Mint, Basil to Wild Chives.
Chop your herbs finely then add your Cornichons, Capers, and Anchovies, keep chopping all of the ingredients together to combine. (we like ours to have a bit of texture but if you prefer a smooth consistency use a food processer)
Add all of the chopped ingredients to a bowl and mix in your Olive oil, Mustard, Garlic and White Wine Vinegar.
Season and give it a taste, you may need to add more vinegar, mustard and oil to get the balance tickety boo. Lip smackingly good with fish or meat, we gorged on ours with lamb to stick with the spirit of spring!
Yep. Getting outside, getting to know your environment, getting that little bit muddy and that little bit rosy cheeked is the good stuff. If you fancy an adventure and a trip to the coast, for yourself or your little humans, then come say hello. From foraging to feasting, bushcraft to fishing, wild camping to retreats, kayaking to coasteering- we live life through adventure. Nice to meet you.
*There is a way to forage that is not so good for the environment- that includes taking more than you need, picking rare things, and the issue of permission. You can have a trawl through the web to find out good/bad ways to get wild feasting.