Mountain pennyroyal is a widespread mountain herb in the American West. Think of it as a combination of mint and marjoram. It is one of our most spectacular native wild herbs.
Called strangolapreti — “priest stranglers” — in Italian, these dumplings made with breadcrumbs, cheese and a green thing (spinach, amaranth, chard, etc) are easy to make and are a great vegetarian main course or side dish for something meatier.
It should be obvious by now how much I love spring onions in all their forms. This light, lovely Italian rice dish highlights whatever wild or store-bought green onion you have on hand, spiked with fresh spring green herbs.
A Greek-inspired venison stew slowly simmered with all sorts of wild greens, from dandelions to lamb’s quarters to wild fennel, amaranth, orache — really whatever you can find. Of course this is also great with turnip or mustard greens, kale or collards, too.
Wild onions, ramps especially, make a great pesto. This is my version, which is pretty classic — but you can play with pesto a lot, changing the nuts, cheese and herbs at will.
Pickling ramp bulbs — or the bulbs of any large wild onion — is a great way to preserve the harvest. These are fantastic served with cured meats and cheeses, or chopped into a relish or just eaten as a snack.
Spring is in full swing here in California, and it’s not far off in the rest of the country. This recipe brings together several of my favorite spring ingredients: Rabbit, morel mushrooms and nettles, all in a lovely, Italian-inspired dish.
Here’s how to identify and eat the wild greens of spring: Dandelions, wild lettuces and other wild chicories. These are pleasingly bitter, super nutritious and awesome with meats and pasta.