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A Weeder's Salad

Gardener's Revenge

Green Fritters
Nettle bhajis

 

A Weeder's Salad

After a hard day’s weeding treat yourself to this unusual and delicious cooked salad, it is also very strengthening! Make it with Spinach or Chard, fastest to pick, or with Ground Elder to relieve your negative feelings about that plant. It can be eaten either cold or just warm and complements dishes that are either hot or cold. The generous amount of lemon juice gives it an excellent freshness.
 
Pick young leaves for this dish, you don’t want to overcook them and the ribs of older leaves can be stringy. Use ground elder leaves that are young and shiny, picking, either in the spring or when they have regrown after strimming; the smell of freshly picked ground elder leaves is not appetising but cooking transforms this to a tangy, fresh flavour that makes a perfect cooked salad
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Serves 2                                                                                  Time taken 20 minutes

ground elder pic200g (large colander)spinach, chard or ground elder leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

Wash the leaves and pick off any tough looking stalks; leave to drain. In a large saucepan bring a very little water to the boil, add half a teaspoon of salt and then tip in the damp leaves. Don’t put on the lid and use two wooden spoons to turn the leaves around, pulling those at the bottom that have begun to wilt up and over the uncooked ones. Keep turning and chopping the leaves with the spoons until they look wilted and cooked. Taste one for tenderness. Tip into a colander and drain very thoroughly, pressing the cooked leaves to extract all the water. Turn out on to a wooden board and slice them with a sharp knife to chop up any bigger bits.
Lightly whisk the oil, lemon juice, a good grating of nutmeg and some ground back pepper in a bowl. Tip in the cooked leaves while they are still warm, as they will better absorb the flavours of the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
This salad can be made advance if you want to eat it cold, it keeps well in the fridge.