There are times you need look no further than your own front yard. At this point in our exceptionally rainy winter, my own front yard is a virtual jungle of wild growth. In the flower department, there are pale, fragrant cyclamens, cheerful crimson anemones and tiny yellow daisy/dandelions. And then there is tangled tapestry of leafy plants – edible and not so. I’ve already been harvesting and cooking the hubeisa (mallow) – my edible wild plant soul food, and have made a few wild spinach quiches. But for some reason, yesterday, a specific plant caught my eye that I’d never paid much attention to before.
In addition to learning about edible wild plants from local Bedouins, I also took an edible wild plants class several years ago with Dr. Uri Meir-Chissik, who is an expert in this field, among others. Uri put a lot of his gathering know-how into a book, called in Hebrew “Edible Wild Plants”, and this winter I’ve been consulting its photos and recipes frequently.
The new plant in my front yard, according to Uri’s book, is “Kaf Avaz”, which means Duck’s Foot. He recommends making Duck’s Foot patties, and the recipe calls for a large bunch of leaves mixed with whole wheat flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Form into patties and fry in oil. This will be my Friday morning project.
(Some hours later…). It took about 3 minutes to pick the plant and 10 minutes to strip the leaves off the stalks. I washed them, cooked them in boiling water and squeezed out the turgid liquid. The patties were simple enough to make and taste very good. Ron says they are bitter, but I guess I am used to bitterness in most of the wild plants of the season, and tend to associate it with healthful qualities. In the meantime, no unpleasant side-effects have been noted. But if any do arise, I will report on the Duck’s Foot revenge.