By Nadine Cox, Illustrations by Frances Cannon
Foraged Spring Salad & Morel Rarebit
With the arrival of springtime comes the first leaves and shoots of plant life, some of it plump, green and full of flavor. Contributor and forager Nadine Cox shares her recipe for a Spring Salad and Morel Rarebit with us. Before you head out to find morel mushrooms, sorrel and more, make sure you read Nadine's article in our spring issue and brush up on your foraging skills. -Colleen Leonardi
1 cup foraged dandelion greens (easiest to find, bitter green)*
½ cup foraged red-vein sorrel (found in woods, unmistakable leaf pattern, citrusy green)*
1 cup baby spinach
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon foraged wild onion, finely chopped (found in woods, should smell and look like chives)*
8–10 foraged wood violets, flowers only (easy to find in woods, flower beds, and lawns)*
¼ cup toasted, sliced almonds
15–18 foraged asparagus, trimmed (near wood edges, more difficult to find, will look like cultivated asparagus)*
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Clean and prepare all the greens, tearing them into bite size pieces.
Add the parsley, wild onion, wood violets and almonds to the greens.
Blanch asparagus in well-salted water until just tender, 3–5 minutes. Move to ice bath to chill, then drain asparagus onto a paper towel.
Poach (or fry) an egg for each plate.
Build your salad by dressing the salad lightly with the vinaigrette. Plate the greens mix on a plate and top with the asparagus spears. Lightly dress the spears with more vinaigrette. Place your poached egg on top of the salad. Season with salt and cracked black pepper and add a few pieces of shaved Parmesan.
Cook’s Notes: Ingredients can be substituted as all foraged ingredients are dependent on availability.
*Check available resources for plant identification.
For the vinaigrette dressing:
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon locally sourced honey
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients into a closed container and shake until mixed thoroughly.
For the Morel Rarebit
1 pound foraged morel mushrooms (mushrooms must be cooked, do not eat them raw)*
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
Brioche bread, cut into ½ inch slices and toasted on one side
2 cups shredded mild white cheddar cheese
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the broiler.
Trim and clean the morel mushrooms. Soak them for about an hour in salty water. This will drive out any insects hiding out in the mushroom. Drain mushrooms thoroughly. Cut the mushroom into slices. The mushrooms should be hollow throughout, stem and cap. If they are not, then discard the entire mushroom.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the thyme and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked and golden brown, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and the milk to a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring often until creamy and smooth.
Add the vinegar and mustard to the cheese mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the toast on baking sheet, non-toasted side upward.
Pour the cheese mixture over the bread, covering each piece.
Place under the broiler for approximately 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Remove from oven and plate your toasts with the morel mushrooms served on top.
Cook’s Notes: Here the rarebit serves as a simple, yet delicious platform for the star of this dish, the morel.