Today I bring to you this a lovely recipe from Israel. It was sent to me by NaturalKids Team member Dria Peterson. I hope you are as excited as I was when I looked at this neat recipe for the first time. Just looking at the photos makes me want to visit the beautiful country where Dria resides…
Green Leaf Patties (by Dria Peterson)
Have you ever thought to give the weeds around you a second look? Fact is that many of the plants that are considered a nuisance are actually edible.
Think about it – instead of paying good money for organic greens, or laboring hard to grow them in your garden, you can just go outside and pick healthy iron rich greens for free! Now isn’t that a great gift from nature!!
Around where I live (in the hills of Galilee in Israel) spring is out in all its luscious leaves. In many an Olive grove you can see women bent over foraging and collecting wild green leaves to make cooked salads, stuffed pastries and other yummy food. Traditionally, these were special dishes available for only a short time a year, before summer sets in and dries everything up. Nowadays many people pick extra greens and freeze them for year round use.
The recipe I bring you here is traditionally made with the green leaves of a plant called Hubeza (Latin: Malva) which is a type of Mallow. In spring time my daughters love to go out and collect Hubeza leaves and help me make this seasonal delicacy.
But don’t worry; these patties can be made with any kind of greens, wild gathered greens or cultivated greens such as Spinch, Chards, Etc. You can use one type of greens or mix a few kinds together
Of course, I don’t know which wild plants are edible where you live. Around my house I can find wild Spinach, Stinging Nettles, wild lettuce, wild garlic, wild mustard, and types of alfalfa, Wild Chicory, Thistles, Dandelions and many more plants. I am familiar with the poisonous plants around where I live and know which ones to avoid (They are not many, by the way). If you are unsure, you can always take a small bite and see how the plant feels in your mouth. If it stings your tongue or the back of your throat don’t eat it (this test is not a good way to determine if mushrooms are edible or not!).
I took a look in some of my books to see what edible plants you might look for in North America and UK: Chickweed, Cleavers, Clovers, Dandelion, Dock, Goosefoot (Lambs quarters) and Nettles.
There are many books about “Edible Wild Plants” out there, if you wish to study the subject thoroughly before popping anything into your mouth.
After this long introduction, here is the recipe:
• A huge bag of leaves. It’s kind of difficult to give an amount. I would say that you will need leaves that consume a space of at least 6 liters or one and a half gallons. This amount will produce enough patties for a family of five. Remember that after steaming, the leaves shrink down to a fifth of the volume they were when fresh.
• 3-4 eggs
• 1-2 cups of bread crumbs – I use whole wheat herb bread from my mother’s bakery. I simply chop it up in the food processor till I have crumbs.
• 1/2 teaspoon of black or white pepper
• 1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin (optional).
Wash the leaves.
Decide which greens you want to steam. Leaves that are thick and coarse are better steamed first to get them a little softer. You can mix steamed and raw greens, too.
Place the greens to be steamed in a large pan with 2 cups of water. Cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
In the meanwhile, chop the bread in the food processor.
When the leaves have wilted and softened, pour them into a colander, and strain. Squash them with a wooden spoon to get most of the water out.
Pour the lump of cooked greens onto a cutting board, and chop coarsely 6-7 times.
If you are using raw greens, chop them to bite size pieces.
Put the chopped leaves with the bread crumbs, eggs, pepper and cumin in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
Warm 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. (You can use a different kind of oil if you prefer). The flame needn’t be too high, not to burn the oil. Form palm sized patties with your hands and place in the skillet.
Note: if you do not want to fry, you can bake the patties in the oven – make the patties and place them on a sheet of parchment paper. Brush with oil. Bake for about 20 minutes in medium heat and flip over for another 5 minutes.
In this photo you can see a mixture of cooked and raw greens. Patties that are made only of cooked greens will look a little different.
Fry the patties a few minutes, and flip over when the patty is getting golden brown.
Serve with a few drops of lemon on each patty. Bon appetite!
I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to Dria’s kitchen and country as much as I did! Please, visit her beautiful Etsyshop here. I am sure you’ll find her store just a lovely as her cooking.