Here comes No. 2 of the series wild food of the month. This month I'm featuring the primrose:
This photo was taken last year, as they are not in flower this year yet. I learnt about the edibility of this pretty herald of spring from afore-mentioned calendar from our local hardware store. It says both leaves and flowers are edible and suggests either throwing them into a salad or boiling them briefly and serve with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of salt.
Now both these suggestions seem to be the standard in Italy for anything edible from the wild. If in doubt, add to salad or serve with olive oil and lemon juice. It does go on and further suggest adding the flowers to soups or an omelette, however I was after something a bit different, so googled for other recipes involving primrose.
During my search I came across this brilliant blog called "The Old Foodie" (http://www.theoldfoodie.com/) by an English woman in Australia. She has made it her mission to find a traditional food / menu for each day of the year. This became a bit of an obsession by the sounds of it and she has collected 100's of historical recipes and anecdotes in the process.
According to her, 5 February is primrose day and she published a couple of recipes for that. I couldn't collect primroses yesterday, because it rained all day. The recipe that I will have to try, but can't do quite yet is called Spring Tart and is taken from the Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary from the year 1733. It goes like this:
"To make a Spring Tart.Gather such Buds, in the Spring of the Year, that are not bitter, also the Leaves of Primroses, Violets, and Strawberries; take also a little young Spinage, boil them, drain them in a Colander; then chop them very small, and boil them over again in Cream; add to them Naples Bisket grated, and so many Yolks and Whites of Eggs as will make the Cream very thick, colour all green with the Juice of Spinage; season with Salt, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Sugar, and bake it in Puff-paste or otherwayes."
The main reason I haven't tried this yet is that the violets aren't quite there yet. I saw one single solitary one today. Saying that, it does say the leaves, doesn't it? "Naples Bisket" I'm told is a type of sponge biscuit. So shall try this out very soon and let you know the result and quantities used.
For today we shall use some with everything else we gathered on todays wild food gathering expedition in a wholesome soup involving potatoes, lentils plus wild chicory...
...wild onions, daisies, borage, stingy nettles, salad burnett aaannd... I think that's all. Anyway, just to give you an idea of our walk today. After 24 hours of rain the air had cleared beautifully and the views were magnificient. It was one of the few days in the year when we could see Corsica clearly in the distance.
This a view back to our village:
Unfortunately the photo doesn't do reality any justice, but it gives you an idea.