Chickweed Salad – Foraging and culinary use

Recipe

 

Chickweed salad is a wonderful example of the usability of Chickweed. Chickweed often grows a weed in the gardens and backyards. Though the beautiful small white flowers do catch attention, but most of the time Chickweed doesn’t find any use in the kitchen. This happens because of our own ignorance towards this wonderful herb- Chickweed. The delicate texture of the Chickweed leaves with its beautiful white coloured flowers make it an excellent choice for salads and garnishes. In this post I shall share the recipe of Chickweed salad that I had made in my kitchen.

Foraging Chickweed: In our garden chickweed grows in the slightly cooler areas. It grows in bunches and forms a beautiful ground cover. The identification of Chickweed are its oval leaves, which are smooth or at times hairy. The pretty star shaped white flowers have 2-loabed petals. I collect the chickweed an hour before the dinner service, quickly wash it in cold water and then soak it in vegetable washing solution. After rinsing the chickweed with fresh water again, I drain the water and loosely wrap the chickweed in kitchen paper.

 

Chickweed Salad: In Ladakh, where I run my kitchen, Chickweed grows wildwith other farmed vegetables like beetroots, carrots and radish. Apricots are also widely available at this time of the year (Late July till Early September).  So, Chickweed with these fresh vegetables and Apricots makes excellent salad. This salad normally features as the starter of the tasting menu.

 

Construction of the Chickweed Salad: The construction and the build up of the salad is very simple. The salad also gives a very fresh and seasonal feeling. This happens basically due to the usage of fresh vegetables from the farm, apricots from the orchard and Chickweed from the backyard. I use cilantro mayo as base of the salad to give further richness.  Slicing the vegetables thin is a good idea. I do this to harness the natural crispiness of the vegetables. Foam of fresh lime juice adds the desired acidity. Dehydrated olive crumbs and crushed Himalayan salt is used for the desired complex saltiness.

Chickweed Salad with Apricots and vegetables

Category: salad, appetizer

Cuisine: Modern Indian

Yield: 2

Chickweed Salad with Apricots and vegetables

Ingredients

    For Cilantro mayo
  • Fresh cilantro, roughly copped- 50 grams
  • Mayonnaise, egg or egg free- 50 grams
  • Salt- to taste
    For Dehydrated Olive crumb
  • Black pitted olive- 50 grams
    For Lime foam
  • Lime juice- 30 ml
  • Water- 30 ml
  • Salt- to taste
  • Soy lecithin powder- 1 grams
    For salad
  • Chickweed- 50 grams
  • Radish, cut into thin slices- 30 grams
  • Baby beet root- cut into thin slices- 30 grams
  • Apricots, cut into halves and stones removed- 4 numbers
  • Himalayan Salt- To taste

Instructions

  1. Blend mayonnaise and fresh cilantro in a blender to make a smooth cilantro mayo. Season with salt. Keep reserved in the refrigerator.
  2. To make dehydrated olives, microwave the olives in bursts of 20 seconds for 2 times. After that keep microwaving the olives in bursts of 10 seconds. Make sure to evaporate all the moisture from the olives. Crush the dry olives with a rolling pin. Keep reserved in a air tight jar.
  3. To make lime foam, mix together fresh lime juice, water and salt together. Add soya lecithin and blend with a hand blender to incorporate air and create foam. Let the foams rest for 1 minute before serving.
  4. To make the salad, spread the cilantro mayo on a plate.
  5. Place radish slices, beetroot slices, apricots and chickweed on the cilantro mayo.
  6. Sprinkle dehydrated olives and crushed Himalayan salt.
  7. Scoop the lime foam and pour carefully above the salad.
  8. Serve the salad cold.

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