Our dinner at the farm Saturday night was from the sea and fields. To begin with, my daughter grilled some Arctic Char, that she got at Bob’s Seafood Market. I’d never had that species of fish before and it was wonderful, light and flaky.
One of our guests, a Missourian and a seasoned outdoors man, who now lives in Alaska, joined in the spring mushroom hunt. Wild fungi aren’t found growing on a plant in a cultivated location, so they must be hunted down, because they are often hidden under grass or leaves or on sides of trees.
There are rules to the hunt. A mushroom stalker never reveals the specific location of his find, so don’t ask. The serious hunter might agree to show you the spot, but only if you’re blindfolded. While the morels (my favorites) were in short supply last week, the lion’s mane and oyster varieties were in abundance. (As were the ticks, always an unpleasant aftermath to mushrooming.)
Even so, we had a scrumptious side dish enlivened with butter, shallots, garlic, sherry and cream. There’s nothing better than the first wild mushrooms of the season. I wanted to get a picture, but the cooked dish photographs poorly. So I gave up before my impatient diners started drooling in the skillet.
Our visitor also found some stinging nettles, a tasty green that when washed and cooked loses its sting and looks much like spinach. He topped off our dinner salad with an assortment of edible wildflowers: tart-flavored wood sorrel, bluebells, and violets.
I confined my adventures to the kitchen. I made two salads: one a Santa Barbara Salad I found on the Washington Post food site. It was loaded with such goodies as lettuce, dates, pine nuts, garbanzo beans, shallots and goat cheese.
The other was a quinoa salad. I came upon Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette while trying to find new recipes for butternut squash. The inclusion of quinoa was a bonus. I love the look and taste of the pearly-grained mélange, that’s super high in protein and gluten free.
Ahh…the potatoes! A recipe of Roasted Potatoes with Chili and Turmeric, gave the spuds a nutrition and color boost. The suggested duck fat rub would definitely have added another dimension of flavor, but drats, I had no duck fat on hand. I used the alternative: olive oil.
I was glad to see the snappy, steamed Broccoli with Lemon Butter Sauce held its own in the flavor matchup. All delish.
NOTE: By way of full disclosure, I must add that the dessert started with a “p” and had three letters. All’s well that ends well.