Friday, 4 April 2014

Ceviche + wild bits

  This post is not so much a wild food recipe but an experiment in presentation using wild herbs and flowers as garnish. You can of course use any plants / flowers that you can find and that are safe to be eaten raw.

The cure for the ceviche consists of grapefruit and lime juice, olive oil, capers and salt - very simple, but quite delicious. You can use almost any fish for ceviche, I used a couple of sea bream fillets I picked up from the fishmongers for £2. Sea bass or mullet would also work well with this.


Here's what I used;


Wild Flowers:


Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis):

This plant is somewhere between horseradish, a strong mustard and wasabi. Leaves are best picked when young before the plant has flowered. Flowers are delicious.



Common Primrose (Primula vulgaris):

Should only be picked in the wild in moderation and when found in abundance.



Sweet Violet (Viola odorata):

A wonderfully scented flower. Dog violets can also be used: www.wikipedia.org/Dog_violet



Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum):

Leaves can be eaten as a green. If picked at the right time, the flowers have a mildly sweet flavour, though, more often than not, they are tasteless - good for garnish, however.



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Wild Herbs:


Common Vetch (Vicia sativa):

A member of the pea family, this creeping plant is found in abundance in hedgerows. The leaves taste better when young and a more vibrant green colour; with age they become stringy and slightly hairy. The taste is like a mild pea shoot. 'Sativa' means 'useful' in Latin, which hints at the past usage of this plant as a source of food.



Wild Garlic / Ramsons (Allium ursinum):

Both the closed flower heads and young leaves were used as garnish. 



Cow Parsley / Wild Chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris):

Beware of the poisonous lookalike, Hemlock (Conium maculatum) - not one for beginners!



Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa):

Oxalic acid gives this plant a sharp, lemony flavour.



Jack-by-the-Hedge / Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata): 

Pick only the young leaves, as they develop an unpleasant bitter aftertaste with age. As the name suggests, they taste like, you guessed it, garlic and mustard.



Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria): 

Leaves are only safe to eat before the plant has started to flower. Once it has flowered, it becomes mildy toxic and can cause diarrhoea.



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Sea Bream Ceviche:


Really easy recipe is this one, the only fiddly bit is plating up all the herbs and flowers. Perfect for a starter.


Ingredients:

- 2 sea bream fillets (or similar)
- Juice of half a grapefruit + segments
- Juice of half a lime + segments
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp capers
- Sea salt
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- Two handfuls of wild garlic leaves
- Selection of wild herbs and flowers


  1. Take skin off fillets and cut in to thin pieces at a 45ยบ angle
  2. Place the fish in a bowl and add the grapefruit + lime juice, olive oil, capers and salt
  3. Mix well and refrigerate for 45 mins
  4. Coarsely blitz a handful of Wild Garlic, take 1 tbsp out of the blender and leave to one side
  5. Once the fish has had 45 mins in the fridge, pour the remaining juice in the blender with the rest of the Wild Garlic and blitz again 
  6. To serve, simply place all the ingredients on a plate, build up with segments of lime/grapefruit, capers, the coarsely blended Wild Garlic, the Wild Garlic and ceviche juice and all of the wild herbs and flowers




Ceviche mixture before refrigerating 






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