Delicious Weeds, pt. 3: lambsquarter


lambsquarter ( Chenopodium album)

aka Chenopodium album,  tender, nutlike, easy to cook — and of course very easy to grow. All you need to do is stop pulling it up and start harvesting  the tender stems and leaves to sauté in olive oil with garlic, steam in lemony chicken stock, cream just like creamed spinach or make killer lambsquarter quesadillas.

quesadillas made with lambsquarter

Compared to dandelions, another delicious weed, lambsquarter is bone easy to harvest and clean. And I certainly thought I’d already said so until I went to find the post so I could send it to Margaret, over at A Way to Garden, in response to her putting quotes around “harvesting” weeds.

well, I meant to write about it – why else would I have taken photographs of preparing lunch?  But somehow or other…

So. First gather your lambsquarter. Early in the year, even large stems are tender. At this point it’s best to stick to the branch tips. 

lambs quarter in harvest basket

Give them a quick wash to remove the dusty/mealy bloom on the leaves. It comes right off. Chop coarsely and proceed exactly as though you were cooking spinach in whatever ways you like cooked spinach.

To make the quesadillas:

make a big batch of lambsquarter sauteed in olive oil with large quantities of garlic and smaller quantities of currants and pine nuts. ( Cook the garlic, pine nuts and currants in the olive oil first, then set them aside while you steam the greens in the same now flavor-filled  pan, using only the water that clings to them plus maybe a little extra. When water has evaporated and greens are tender, in 5 to 10 minutes depending on age, stir in the goodies.)

Eat a lot of this for dinner with grilled lamb or something.

Ok, now set out the leftovers along with soft corn tortillas and two kinds of shredded cheese: one of them mozarella and the other something nutty and firm like gruyere or manchego.

ingredients for lambsquarter quesadillas

Get the broiler hot. Sprinkle some of each cheese on half of the tortillas, using up about 2/3 of the total cheese. Spread the leftover greens on the other tortillas. Broil until cheeses are just melted and greens are thoroughly heated. Working quickly, make sandwiches, sprinkle remaining cheese on the tops and return to broiler. Broil until cheeses are melted and browned – or slightly singed as the case may be. Serve and eat promptly, remembering not to burn your mouth.  



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