I have been eating this wild plant as far back into my childhood as I can recall. Come into my post for a little reminiscing.
Foraging Curly Dock
Dock is 1 of 3 wild greens I remember picking all through my childhood, as early as 7 years old. My dad would be driving the old station wagon, out in the countryside, and then pull off to the side of the road. We kids would get out and he would set out big paper grocery sacks. For us to fill with Poke, Dock, or Lambs Quarter, depending on the season. These weeds were real food for us.
I always enjoyed picking a big sack of wild greens. It felt good to be out in the countryside with my dad. It felt good to be doing something useful and appreciated by my parents. And it felt like I knew something special, too -- that plants were out there, just waiting for us, anywhere and everywhere.
Yes, dock is related to rhubarb. But it's even more edible than that respected garden plant. Eating rhubarb leaves is no good for anyone. But young dock leaves are fine to eat. Rhubarb stalks are really sour. Dock has a lemon tang, but it's not really sour.
Enjoying Curly Dock
This is such an easy dish to make. It's based on how I ate dock as a kid. How my dad made it, his mom before him, and her mom before her. And all the aunts and uncles, all from deep in the Ozark hills.
I boiled the ham hock and wild garlic, until the meat fell off the bones. I sauteed the sliced bases of the elephant garlic in a little olive oil. Then I added the dock leaves, and just a splash of water after the leaves had cooked a little.
Of course, folks back in the old days would have cooked the hock and dock in a big stewpot, and served it in big bowls. And they would have used onions instead of elephant garlic. But I tried to elevate the dish for the Steemit Iron Chef. I put the hamhock in the center of a nest of the dock greens, with thin slices of Jerusalem artichokes. And with the elephant garlic and wild garlic surrounding the greens. Topped with just a touch of black pepper. That's it.
It's simple, but so, so good. I would match this plate of greens with any, at any restaurant. The dock leaves are so soft, even though they were cooked for only a few minutes. They have such a smooth, rich, deep lemon flavor. Not sharp or overpowering at all. A nice combination of greens, lemon, garlic, and smoked ham. It's magical!
I had a wonderful childhood. Wild greens were part of that. And they still make me happy today! Thanks, Daddy!
What Do You Think?
- Do you like cooked greens?
- Have you ever had Curly Dock or any of the other Docks?
- Do you ever forage wild greens?
- Would you eat my small plate of curly dock?
I eat a lot of wild plants and show you how, because I believe that we can all have lives that are richer, more secure, more grounded, and more interesting by getting to know the plants and the land around us – in our yards, our parks, and our wild places.
Thanks @progressivechef for creating the Steemit Iron Chef contest series!
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- Curly dock - Rumex crispus
- Jerusalem artichokes - Helianthus tuberosus
- Wild garlic - Allium vineale
- Elephant garlic - Allium ampeloprasum
- Poke - Phytolacca americana - special processing required
- Lambsquarter - Chenopodium album
- Rhubarb - Rheum rhabarbarum - leaves not for eating, stalks are good