May 04, 2012

Japanese Knotweed Quiche

Well after much anticipation, the 2012 Saveur award winners were announced yesterday! And I am thrilled and honoured to be the recipient of an award in the best single video category. Thanks so much to all of you who voted online. I spent yesterday afternoon either blushing, beaming, or ok I'll even admit, jumping up and down a little, and perhaps letting out a scream or two (when no one was around). Truly, I think my mom was working a little magic, from wherever she is… making sure a few more people know about her Baba au Rhum recipe which has always filled our hearts and bellies with delight at Christmas. So this one's for her, for my mom Jali, with a wink and a cheers, we did it!

Today's recipe with Japanese Knotweed is one I would have loved to have shared with my mom, since she was an expert forager and eater of weeds and all things wild (from nettle to lambsquarter to wild mushrooms). She was also a great lover (and maker) of quiche. And this is one wild thing I'm not sure she ever ate. I never knew it was edible until my sweetheart brought some home last week. 


At first I had no idea what it was and then I realized it's that invasive bamboo-like plant that grows everywhere. I used to poke a holes in it and make little flutes with it as a kid. 


Well, I am in Maine now, as of just over a week, in a brand new place, and the world is full of new possibilities! Even the possibility of turning an obnoxious weed into a delicious dinner. So last week, we had a knotweed stir-fry which felt pretty adventurous. Then we had knotweed mixed into hash brown one morning, which was delicious (the tartness of the knotweed added a za-zing to the potatoes that was insanely good). Next I made a knotweed cornmeal cake, adapted from this rhubarb cake recipe, which was not half-bad either. And finally, yesterday, I decided to whip up a knotweed quiche to bring to a friend's house for dinner (actually the dairy farmer who produced the exquisite raw milk I used in this quiche... best milk I've ever tasted in my life). The funny thing was, we got there and guess what HE had made…  guess. Knotweed and fiddlehead stir fry!


So while all these knotweed concoctions have been quite exotic, exciting, and tasty, I think I am done with knotweed for the season, having eaten it almost every single day since I got to Maine. I was going to try a cream of knotweed soup, but no, I think I'm totally OK with not eating the stuff for a WHOLE nother year.

The cool thing about knotweed is that in terms of taste and texture, it lies somewhere between rhubarb and asparagus. So you can use it in desserts in lieu of rhubarb, or in savoury dishes that call for asparagus. It has a delicious earthy tartness that is versatile and distinctive. You can find more recipes for japanese knotweed at punk domestics, a great site I've started following that is full of wicked recipes for cooking with wild edibles.

The not so cool thing about knotweed is that it is an invasive species. So you have to dispose of any remains ever so carefully. Do NOT put a single cutting from any part of the plant in your compost or you may end up with a very difficult-to-get-rid-of knotweed forest in your backyard.

What a wonderful time of year it is when we can start gathering food from the wild again! Now if I could just get my hands on some fiddleheads and wild leek, life would be perfect. But without further ado, I give you, knotweed quiche.



JAPANESE KNOTWEED QUICHE

1 batch of your favourite pie crust
Filling:
3 eggs
3/4 cup cream or milk
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 large bunch of japanese knotweed (use the small young shoots and discard the leaves)
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pie crust. Mix eggs and cream until velvety. Add cheese. Chop knotweed into 1 inch long pieces. Arrange over pie crust. Pour the egg mixture and bake at a 350 to 375 F oven.


See? Easy as pie! Har har.




12 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how ecstatic this news makes me feel...I just wish I could have seen you jumping for joy when you found out!

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    1. Thanks Jenny! Well the jumping up and down part was pretty goofy (but felt good), thankfully no one was around to witness haha ;-)

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  2. Oh my goodness... I live in a knotweed forest..an old farm where knotweed is most surely the BOSS! I am definitely going to try this tomorrow....in a very (I am pretty sure) revengeful way , I am looking forward to sinking my teeth into this tenacious, yet I hope succulent plant.... hmmm.... sweet or savoury...Thank you!

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    1. Hi Kate, have a great revengeful feast and let me know how it goes!!

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  3. Congratulations!!! This is wonderful news and your mama is surely smiling about it... somehow, somewhere. You have such incredible talents; lovely to see that recognized in such an official way. xo

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    1. Thanks so much Aimee, it's very kind of you :-)

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  4. Congrats on the win! It was well-deserved, for sure.
    I love how food blogs can manage to teach me new things every day... like the fact that knotweed is actually edible! I've had an ongoing fight with a patch of knotweed in my backyard, which stubbornly reappears each spring despite my best efforts to kill it. I've resorted to just yanking out the young shoots as soon as they poke their heads up from the soil to keep it from spreading further... so in my case, they'd taste not just of earthy tartness, but also sweet victory from holding them at bay for another year. :) (Why yes, I do have a vindictive streak...)

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    1. Thanks Isabelle! Well I think you're not the only one with a vindictive streak when it comes to knotweed ;-) And hey, if you can't beat it, just eat it!

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  5. Yay Aube!! Yay for more recognition of your awesome blog!! You've got talent my dear. Thanks for sharing your tasty delights (if I can no longer eat in the same kitchen as you, at least I can read and see it through the world wide web).

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    1. I miss eating in the same kitchen as you!!! And I miss the chicken!! She told me she really really wants you to take her on a little road trip to Maine last time I saw her. Just saying...

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  6. Aube: I had to watch this because my back yard is positively INVADED with this stuff. I've tried it myself but not nearly so adventuresomely as you. I must say that quiche looks pretty awesomely extra-ly delicious! Maybe with a pinch of curry, too? Umm...and true confession: my kitchen never looks that neat in the midst of meal preparation!

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear you've got it in your yard Brogan, that SUCKS! The quiche was pretty good, but the best way we had it was actually in hash browns with onions, it was very, very yummy. And don't worry, my kitchen is usually not anywhere that neat either, but when I make a video, it's kind of like having a guest (or in this case, many guests!) over for dinner, so I make a special effort. So nice to hear from you xoxox :-)

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