This is a Cajun classic, often done with alligator, but equally good with snapping turtle, which is what I used here. Sauce piquante is a bit of a mash-up between gumbo and an etouffee.
Fennel salami, finocchiona, is an Italian staple. There are lots of variations on this salami, but they all require a decent addition of fennel seeds. My version has wild fennel seeds, fennel pollen and ouzo.
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.
Pike dumplings, or quenelles, to be exact, are an ancient preparation for the bony fish, but any fish will work here. These are light as air and are perfect floating in a clear broth – in this case, a wild mushroom broth.
This is my homage to the North Country, where wild rice and pike, walleye and perch are king. These fish cakes are made with pike from Manitoba, but you could use any white fish. Mixed with mustard, herbs and wild rice, they are easy to make and wonderful to eat.
If you’ve never braised pheasant thighs, you’re missing out. Unlike the drumsticks, which can be fiddly, the thighs on pheasants (and wild turkeys) are sublime when slow cooked. This recipe is based on a French one and uses lots of mushrooms.
The professional mushroom pickers call this time of year Winter Pick. It’s a time of abundance here in Northern California, a time when you can conceivably come home with 20 different kinds of edible mushrooms. It’s my favorite time of year.
I had the chance to fish for speckled seat trout in Texas last month, and had a helluva good time! I also managed to bring back some trout fillets to cook with back home, so I decided to do a decidedly Texas spin on sea trout.