Recipes for Spring foraging ingredients

05 July 2013

By Pan Macmillan

Claytonia Salad

1 large bunch claytonia and other leaves as available, grated raw carrot, 3 tablespoons French dressing, 3 teaspoons chopped, wild chervil, 2 crisp apples, chopped into cubes.
Wash the claytonia and mix with the apples. Add the chervil to the French dressing and blend. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly.

Mousse Chaude aux Morilles

4 large morels, washed thoroughly, 100g (4 oz) white mushrooms, 2 large chicken breasts, boned, 1 ½ dl (½ pint) double cream, 3 dl (½ pint) veloué sauce (béchamel + chicken stock), 1 tablespoon Madeira, 35g (1 ½ oz) butter, salt and pepper.

Liberally butter the inside of four teacups. Cut one morel into quarters lengthways and each quarter into five pieces. Cook very lightly in 12g (½ oz) of the butter. Place pieces inside the teacups equi-distant from each other. If you have no morel large enough, cut up a smaller one similarly and simply place it, star-fashion, in the bottom of the teacup.

Filling: Chop the remaining morels (with their stalks) and the other mushrooms very finely and cook gently in the rest of the butter until the moisture has evaporated. Season and mix half with the velouté sauce and half the Madeira. Cool.

Mousse: Finely chop the chicken breasts, trimmed of all sinew, or put in food processor for twenty seconds. Pass this, with the other half of the mushroom mixture, through a sieve into a small bowl. Place over some ice cubes and water in a large bowl and refrigerate for half an hour. Then, salt the mixture lightly and little by little beat in the chilled cream. Check for the right degree of saltiness. Divide the mousse into four and line each teacup with it to a thickness of 1.2cm (½ in), making sure the morel pieces remain in place, leaving enough mousse to cover the top. 

Fill the cavities with the chopped mushroom mixture and spread the remaining mousse over the top. Bake in a bain-marie in a medium oven 180?C (350?F, Mark 4) for half an hour, turn out and serve with the rest of the Madeira-flavoured sauce poured around.

This recipe came to me from Chef Stephen Bull.

Sorrel Pesto

1 lb (400g) sorrel, 8oz (200g) spinach, preferably baby leaf annual variety, 2oz (50g) pine nuts, garlic, sea salt, olive oil added to achieve the correct thickness.

Wash and dry the leaves. Aim for around a 2-1 ratio for a sauce that has a zesty punch but also allows that irony flavour of the spinach to come across too.

Place the pine nuts, garlic, sea salt and olive oil in the blender bowl. Gradually add olive oil to achieve a desirable thickness. If you plan on storing the sauce it will keep much better with a good layer of oil above it.

This recipe was given to me by Phil Stanley: the great pesto maker.
2 bunches watercress, 2 large potatoes, generous knob of butter, dash of vegetable oil (to stop butter burning)
1 chicken stock cube, salt and freshly ground black pepper, single cream
Put the butter in a large saucepan with dash of oil and melt over a low flame. Place a mandolin over the saucepan and slice the potatoes (or cube them).  Cook very gently until the potatoes are soft. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water and add to the saucepan, simmering for 15 minutes. Then add the watercress (coarsely chopped) and simmer for a further 7 minutes (retain some watercress leaves for garnish). Liquidize, stir in some single cream and chill in the fridge. 

Decorated with fresh watercress leaves, it makes a delightful summer soup.

This recipe, which comes from Pammy Williams, is equally delicious served either cold in the summer or hot in the winter.


Lime or Linden Tea

Infuse one teaspoon of dried lime flowers in one cup of water for 5-10 minutes, strain and drink as it comes or with a few grains of sugar.  Lime tea has a lovely, honey-like scent and is said to be soothing to the digestion and nerves so it is often taken last thing at night to help induce sleep.