Locally known as La Cueillette, foraging is a lost past-time for many locals of my age, but a dear memory and a regular outing for older generations. I'm a fan of whatever is edible. If I can find it in the wild (or simply find it in a field or forest), I'm doubly happy.
This year I've added a new favorite to my list of possible wild foods: rocket leaf, aka arugula or la roquette as we call it here. I was helping JP move the parts of his growing tunnel (aka une serre) from where it had been put before winter, to against the wall of his garage, when I smelled a familiar smell.
Je sens la roquette. I said quite simply. Oui, il y en a ici, he replied. Où? I rather dumbly enquired. Cherche, sens, goûte et tu la trouveras. replied a man with other things on his mind (like bringing fire wood up the stairs, working at his desk, checking out the picnic field for Easter Monday....
So, I scrounged and looked, and lo and behold, a patch. Then, another patch. But they were surrounded by grass, dandelions and lots of other leaves of a varying shade of bright green. I'll put an image of the leaves in their field (when I find more) in the next few days. In the meantime I've put the very simple images of what I was able to harvest and my delicious salade des feuilles de roquette, du fromage parmesan et du jambon cru.
My next joy of joys was discovering that the woods surrounding the picnic field are simply full of wild asparagus. Plenty for a decent omelet or even to be blanched and added to a salad of wild finds. My mouth is watering already... rocket leaf, tender, young dandelion leaves and blanched asparagus. Yumm!
Next week, wild leeks!