It may still be as hot as blazes out there but soon cooler weather and increasing rain will yield a nutrient-rich bounty of returning greens and mushrooms! This creamy & cheesy dish will help you take delicious advantage of both, plus it’s so packed with vitamins, minerals, and critical nutrients, it could be considered a veritable medicine.
To start you will need about four cups of wild greens (weeds). Use a selection of whatever you find growing near you, dandelion, chickweed, plantain, lambs-quarters, curly dock, milk thistle greens etc. Also feel free to toss in a few nasturtium and horseradish leaves for a little mustardy kick.
I picked the greens pictured above from the Wark St. Commons Garden and the Peoples Apothecary. But all can be freely harvested in other common ground gardens across the city such as Spring Ridge Commons in Fernwood and Banfield Commons in VicWest.
Today we’ve forgotten these weeds are actually foods – but fact is, they have been nourishing us since the dawn of time. Their use salads, vegetable dishes, and in soups, stews as “pot herbs” were part of a “medicinal cuisine” thousands of years old. Today herbalists classify them as tonic plants, meaning they nourish, strengthen and enliven the whole body. And the best part is, unlike pricey superfoods, weeds don’t cost a dime.
Cooked into a creamy custard of sour cream and eggs, poured over a base of mushroom and onions, and topped with a generous coating of parmesan and feta cheese, these wild greens certainly make for a satisfying, seasonal, savory dish!
For the mushrooms, I used a couple of handfuls of the first foraged chanterelles of the season and filled this out with a couple of cups of store bought brown mushrooms. These were lightly cooked in olive oil along with a roughly chopped onion, and a few sprigs of thyme. This mushroom and onion mixture went into a large low casserole dish, forming the underlayer of the tart.
The greens are also sauteed in olive oil and a few sprigs of thyme. If you’re using milk thistle greens be sure to cut off the leaves spiny edges! Then either beaten by hand (or placed in a food processor) blend your cooked greens with two cups of sour cream, 6 eggs, and a couple generous nobs of garlic. Once creamy, pour it over the mushroom and onion base and apply generous portions of cheese to top it all off.
Add one more sprinkling of thyme over the cheese, and put into a pre-heated 325-degree oven for approximately 40 min, or until golden brown.
Filled with nourishing greens and mushrooms, fat and protein, this dish is certainly hefty enough to make it a meal. And I’ve no doubt that as the season changes, this Wild Green Custard & Mushroom Tart will make a warming, nourishing addition to your autumn table. Or even right now!
Wild Green Custard & Chanterelle Tart
- 4 cups of packed weedy greens, chopped
- 2 cups sour cream
- 6 eggs
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 1 heaping cup of sliced chanterelles or other mushrooms
- 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- Five-six tablespoons of olive oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme
- 1 Tsp. powdered mustard
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 1/4 Tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- Sprinkling of freshly ground black or white pepper
- Shortly before dinner, gather your greens. Rinse them and set them in a colander to drain.
- Preheat your oven to 325˚F.
- Into a frying pan, pour 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil and sauté the chopped greens until limp.
- Place the cooked greens in a large bowl or food processor and add sour cream, eggs, mustard, nutmeg, salt. Beat together well, until creamy.
- Saute the chopped mushrooms and onion in the remaining olive oil with a dash of thyme. Cook until translucent and beginning to brown.
- Spread the onion/mushroom mixture over the bottom of a buttered 9- by 12-inch lasagna pan (or pan of approximately the same size).
- Pour the greens mixture over the mushrooms.
- Top with parmesan and feta cheese, salt and pepper and one last sprinkling of thyme.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes until top is bubbling and golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes & serve.