Spring is here (even though we’re expecting snow in Santa Fe this weekend!).
Lots of wild greens are at their best right now, and it’s important to know what to do with them. This recipe is versatile and can be used with lots of different foraged greens. You’ll be using it for months to come.
In early spring, you might make this with garlic mustard and chickweed, or dandelion and nettles. Many such combinations are possible (Star Trek reference). Some people love bitter greens, and others prefer milder flavors. The important thing is to choose a blend of mild and sharp wild greens that pleases your palate.
To be absolutely clear, I did not forage for the grains in the casserole. I’ve never foraged wild grains in large enough quantities to make that happen, although I have made it with wild rice foraged by a friend. I usually make this with whatever leftover grains I have in the fridge. That might be a half cup of brown rice from last night’s dinner or some quinoa from the night before. The recipe works equally well with farro, bulgur, or freekah.
I recommend powdering your dried herbs for this recipe, because they mix evenly throughout the dish. I keep an extra coffee bean grinder just for grinding herbs and spices; it does the job quickly and well.
What You’ll Need to Make Wild Green Casserole
- 1 cup cooked grains
- 1 cup chopped wild greens (If you’re using previously frozen greens, be sure to squeeze out as much water as possible from the greens before using them.)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons wild garlic powder (you may substitute onion or garlic powder)
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground Monarda leaf powder (you may substitute ground oregano or summer savory)
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan, if you prefer)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- fat for greasing the pan (butter, Crisco, or spray oil or butter)
- 1 Tablespoon butter
What You’ll Do to Make Wild Greens Casserole
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together well. I think hands work best for this task, but you could also use a rubber spatula.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream/yogurt, salt, and pepper, then add this to the greens and grains mixture and combine well.
This dish can be made as a single, large casserole, or as individual servings in a muffin tin. Whichever you choose, grease the cooking vessel with your fat of choice, and fill it with the mixture. Press the mixture firmly into the dish. You want it to be 1 – 1 1/2 inches deep, so choose your dish accordingly. Keeping the casserole thin guarantees you the best ratio of crispy, golden crust to chewy filling.
Dot the top of the casserole with butter and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the casserole is set and golden brown at the edges. Mini muffins should bake for 15 minutes and standard size muffins for 25 minutes.
Serve this dish warm or room temperature.