Dick Peebles holds a wealth of knowledge about the edible delights to be found in the countryside. Along with Gary Goldie, an award-winning chef who can tame the wild plants to create culinary magic, he would like to share some thoughts on eating in the wild.
Before setting out on your own foraging expedition, make sure you know what you are looking for. While some of the roadside greens are delicacies, others can be poisonous.
Experts like Dick however know what to look for, and within no time he had found some sweet cicely. These small plants have cream flowers and their leaves have a white bloom, but there are mainly identified by the striking smell of liquorice when the leaves are broken.
Further on down the road Dick found ground elder. These leaves were introduced to Scotland by the Romans but now grow wild and can be cooked just like spinach.
Common sorrel is a leafy herb with a sharp flavour ideal for soups, sauces and salads. In summer it can be identified by reddish-green flowers.
Below the ground, another delicacy can be found. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest Caliban searches out pignut roots for Prospero, but you can just dig them up themselves.
These are identified by delicate white flowers at the top of the stalk and dill-like leaf appendages from the branch, but the real treasure is the root. Dig down to find them.
Above ground once more, pea shoots taste just like peas and can be found at the side of the road. The best ones are the young ones.
To demonstrate the great uses for all of these wild plants, Gary cooked pan-fried scallops with a sweet cicely sauce, served with a little bit of sorrel, pea shoots and broom buds.
For texture, he added shaved pignut and cleavers.
MORE SCOTTISH PRODUCE
- Jack-by-the-hedge panna cotta, pea cream, oxalis, cleavers and ham
- Foraging for food in the countryside
- The Isle of Bute's local produce