Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stalking Wild Mustard, aka Rapini

My favorite foraging find yet this season (besides fresh caught Dungeness Crab) has been the delicious, sweet and tender tops of the Wild Mustard plant seen growing all over our East Bay Hills right now.  When "stalking" wild mustard, its important to catch it at the right time, February and March.  Once you see those familiar yellow blooms, it may be too late to collect the unopened flower buds.  I was lucky with this find.  Although mostly a sea of yellow, it was only half in bloom.  I quickly went to work picking the multiple tops of leaves and stalks from each plant. 

Wild Rapini Bouquet

The unopened flower tops of the Wild Mustard plant are similar to Rapini or Broccoli Raab and just as delicious! The leaves, seeds and flower tops from the wild mustard are also edible and delicious.

Also be mindful that another similar plant, Wild Radish sometime grows right next to Wild Mustard.  Wild Radish in CA has purplish white flowers instead of yellow.  Wild radish is also edible, especially the flowers and seed pods but has a stronger taste.

Sea of Wild Mustard in Full Bloom

Mustard Close Up
I go straight for the top sections of leaves and buds.  See the perfect specimen below.  A couple flowers are okay.

Pick this whole part 

There are many ways to cook wild mustard but my favorite is to add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to your pan and heat for a minute.  Add a few crushed garlic cloves and a tablespoon or two of pine nuts and saute for a minute to bring out the flavors and to toast the pine nuts.  Then add the wild mustard tops and saute until they are a bright green color.  Remove from heat and dress with some fresh lemon juice and salt.  These also taste great with a side of fresh avocado.

Into the pan they go

Sauteed with olive oil, garlic and pine nuts - Yum!

So, now can you tell me...How do you "stalk" the Wild Mustard?

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