Spring is all about the greens. It's absolutely true that many nutrient-dense wild greens are available all throughout the growing season, but for me the spring is when they especially shine. After I've spent the winter relying heavily on our winter farm share that's rich in tubers and roots, I can't wait to get outside and connect with the spring earth and fill my harvest basket with some liver-loving, chlorophyll-rich greens!
This recipe was born of necessity. We were away for part of my daughter's spring vacation, and arrived home at dinner time with hungry kids and an empty fridge. A trip to the chicken coop yielded over a dozen eggs, so frittata instantly came to mind. It's delicious, easy, versatile, and nutritious. But what to fill it with?
Now, you don't have to ask me twice to forage for my dinner....although our fridge was bereft of greens, I knew our yard and gardens would be bursting with them! Our small farm is comprised of sprawling gardens, meadow (we rarely mow in order to support pollinator plants for our honeybees and also to promote medicinals and wild edibles), lots of forest edges, and a red maple swamp. A quick foray yielded:
- Nettles (Urtica dioica)- For food, I use the top 4-6 inches of young plants, stem and leaves. As it gets larger (reaching a foot or taller) I use the top 3-4 inches (Lvs and stems) and older leaves. Harvest with care! Cooking destroys the sting, and blending it fresh does as well
- Dandelion Leaves (Taraxacum officinalis)- These can be harvested spring, summer, and fall. Their flavor gets more bitter as the warmer months come on, but gets more mild again in the cool nights of the fall
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)- One of my favorite, and in my opinion, under-appreciated early spring culinary herb. It sprouts long before 90% of my garden
- Spring Garlic (Allium sativum)- Spring Garlic is garlic that was planted in the fall and wasn't harvested when it was "supposed" to be. Let me explain. Garlic is traditionally planted in the fall, to be harvested the following summer. But if you don't harvest it, it will die down back to it's bulb in the fall and gloriously sprout the following spring! Each bulb sprouts, so they're kind of like garlic scallions, and they sprout long before most plants in your garden have even begun thinking about waking-up!
Although these didn't go into my frittata that day, here are some other lovely edible/medicinal additions (these are just a few, be creative and use your favorites!):
-Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)- Leaves, young tops, flowering and/or budding tops
-Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)- young shoots
-Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)- Leaves
-Evening Primrose (Oneothera biennsis)- Leaves
If there's one thing you will notice is NOT on this list, it's Ramps aka Wild Leeks (Allium triccocum). This is the latest darling of the foodie world and it's not being harvested correctly. Current harvest practices kill the plant and it's a slow-growing woodland medicinal. United Plant Savers has written an article about this and added it to their "To-Watch" list. Please spread the the word and do your part as a medicinal plant conservationist! Spring Garlic and Garlic Mustard are great alternatives.
And now, the recipe!
SPRING GREENS FRITTATA
1/2 c milk of choice (I used coconut)
2 cups spring/wild greens (choices are numerous- I used roughly equal parts nettles, dandelion greens, chives, garlic leaves and second year bulbs)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
To make: Sauté the greens for 3-4 min (add extra garlic if desired), then set aside. In a bowl mix eggs (lightly) and then add the milk. Add the greens to the egg/milk mix. Put a cast iron deep dish skillet on the stove and warm 2 tbsp ghee in it, then add the egg/greens mix and cook on medium for 5-7 min until it sets. Then put it in the oven at 350 to cook an additional 15-18 min. Enjoy!