This past weekend a group of friends and I went on a "wild walk" on our friend Carver's land in Bovina in upstate New York. Carver and his wife Sonya own The Pines restaurant in Gowanus and are interested in seasonal local foods both wild and otherwise. We were lucky to have local Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower as our guide. She is wealth of knowledge when it comes to wild plants. We set out on an incredibly cold and rainy morning after a super delicious brunch (we were more than a little sad to leave the roaring fire) and roamed both pasture and woods. Before we even got out of the yard proper, we had spotted garlic mustard. Garlic Mustard from what I have read was brought to the United States in the 1860's as a culinary herb but escaped into the wild and is now an invasive plant. You will see this early flowering wild plant along roadsides in the spring, it has delicate vibrant green leaves that are heart shaped and toothy with tiny white flowers. It does not have any poisonous look a likes. You will know this plant at once when you rub the leaves; it gives off a garlic odor. The leaves and the flowers are bitter but very delicious. Garlic mustard can be used in pesto or a salsa verde or raw in salads. All parts of the plant are edible and the roots apparently taste like horseradish.
When I got back home I searched our property for Garlic Mustard and found it literally two feet from my back door!
The next morning we decided to try it out for breakfast.
I blanched the greens and served a poached egg over them.
I have seen farmers selling Garlic Mustard at the Green Market in Union Square. However, if you can't find any just substitute any bitter green in this recipe. You can't go wrong with eggs and greens.
I will post more on our walk soon.
Poached Eggs with Garlic Mustard
2 farm fresh eggs
1/2 pound of Garlic Mustard with flowers or a similar bitter green (Dandelions would be just as good)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Cracked black pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste
Wash the garlic mustard and remove the leaves and flowers from the stems
Discard the Stems
Set the flowers aside
In pot of rapidly boiling water blanch the Garlic Mustard leaves for 10 seconds or so, just long enough for them to soften and turn a beautiful vibrant green.
Remove the Leaves from the water with a slotted spoon and divide between to plates.
Drizzle the greens with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
In the remaining boiling water crack two eggs and poach.
When the eggs are one slide one each with a slotted spoon from the pot to the plates.
Drizzle with a bit more olive oil
Top with cracked black pepper and Sea Salt
Add the delicate Garlic Mustard flowers on top.
Serve with tow slices of toast. I used walnut raisin bread because that is what I had around. (Thank you Paola!)
I rubbed the toasts with garlic after toasting.