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Get Wild! Recipes Spotlighting Foraged Ingredients

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Scott Phillips

Spring is prime time for foraged ingredients: morel mushrooms, ramps, fiddlehead ferns are three spring delicacies that are often traditionally foraged rather than farmed. That said, they’re often found at farmer’s markets, so you don’t have to forage yourself. (It’s fun experience, but always go with a trusted expert when starting out!) Here are a few recipes starring our favorite spring forage, plus ingredients that come later in the season, like maitake, wild greens, and wild blueberries.

  • Recipe

    Spring Risotto with Ramps, Asparagus, and Morels

    Ramps, or wild leeks, are one of the fleeting pleasures of early spring. Their pungent, almost spicy garlicky-onion flavor mellows a bit with cooking, and this creamy risotto is the perfect vehicle to show them off, paired with two other spring vegetable stars, morels and asparagus.

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  • Recipe

    Pea, Morel, and Fiddlehead Ragout

    This simple side dish is spring incarnate, featuring two favorites that are in season for only a few brief weeks in the spring: morel mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns.

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  • Recipe

    Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Sautéed Miner’s Lettuce, and Ramp-Parsley Pesto

    Mushrooms add “meatiness” and satisfying umami flavor. The sautéed miner’s lettuce is mild and earthy and plays well off the wild mushrooms. The ramp and parsley pesto adds a bright note to each bite. If miner’s lettuce can’t be found, use baby spinach instead.

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  • Recipe

    Southern Pine Needle Biscuits with Orange Marmalade

    If you are new to foraging, pine needles are an excellent place to start. Since all pine needles are edible, you can use whichever are available in your community, try experimenting with different ones since their flavors vary. If it’s impossible for you to access them, you can shop for culinary pine needles online or substitute rosemary.

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  • Recipe

    Dandelion Salad with Pancetta, Eggs, and Croutons

    In Italy, this is a classic salad made from a wild green called puntarelle, but in the US, dandelion greens are a more commonly available substitute.

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  • Recipe

    Maitake Noodle Bowls

    Maitake, or hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, are a good mushroom for beginning foragers, as they have a distinctive appearance and don't have a poisonous lookalike. They grow in late summer and fall at the base of oak trees. This satisfying bowl is brimming with umami flavors, warm udon noodles, and vibrant, crisp vegetables.

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  • Recipe

    Pine Bough-Roasted Mussels

    Here, the pine boughs aren't exactly an ingredient, but used as a smoking wood. This preparation has roots in a French seaside tradition of a large cookout similar to a New England clambake. Given the quick cooking time of mussels, the highly aromatic and dense smoke is a perfect touch.

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  • Recipe

    Greek Spinach & Feta Pie (Spanakopita) Recipe

    This dish is traditionally made with wild greens in Greece, and it can be fun to substitute or supplement the spinach with foraged greens. Try dandelion, nettles, or purslane, for starters.

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  • Recipe

    Wild Blueberry Soup with Mint

    Blueberries (especially the tiny wild ones) are less sweet and more earthy than you might think. This almost savory take on a fruit soup includes wine, spices, and herbs. It would make an elegant starter.

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