Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thistle Stalk

“You can eat thistle?” I asked. “Who was brave enough to try that the first time?”

Yes, indeed, the spiny plant is highly edible. And unlike picking the tiny leaves off another tiny plant, the thistle is sizable. A single plant produces a substantial amount of edible substance.

The stalk, one uses like celery. After collecting (with gloves), you peel it and chop it up. It has a deep, earthy, lovely flavor—excellent for accenting sauces dishes with onions and garlic at their base. The following recipe is both.

Peasant Pasta
(So named for its inexpensive ingredients)

1 box chunky pasta (spirals, shells, elbows, etc.)
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
thistle stalk, chopped, enough to equal 3 to 5 large celery stalks
2 cans tomato paste
1 to 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed

Cook pasta, drain and set aside.

Heat oil. Add onion and thistle. Cook until onion translucent.

Add garlic. Cook 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste and 5 tomato paste cans full of water. Stir until tomato paste fully dissolved. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until bubbly.

Add beans. Add pasta.

We like it with lots of parmesan cheese! See picture in post on milk weed shoots.

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