It will soon be the time of year when I include a lot of wild greens in our diet for their superior nutrition, and sometimes superior flavors, over domestic cultivated vegetables. Wild greens (otherwise known as weeds) are at their best when they first come up in the spring. I will be featuring some of them at times in the next couple of months as the new plants emerge and occupy a place in my culinary experience.
One of the first wild edible greens to show up in spring is curly dock. It has a pleasant, slightly sour flavor indicating the presence of vitamin C. Cooked domestic greens are popularly prepared with lemon juice or vinegar to add astringency. That is not really necessary with dock greens. For those who prefer otherwise, astringency can be easily eliminated by cooking in a rue of butter, flour and milk.
Not only is curly dock richer in vitamin C than oranges, it has four times the amount of vitamin A than carrots according to Euell Gibbons (Stalking The Healthful Herbs).
Dock seems to have a worldwide presence, at least in the northern hemisphere. I commonly found it growing wild in the foothills of the Himalayas in India where I attended boarding school. Anywhere stinging nettles grew you were sure to find dock growing nearby, which is a blessing since crushed dock leaf is a reliable remedy for the nettle’s sting.
New weed growth hasn’t really begun yet here, but I noticed some early comers behind the house. It was just two curly dock plants so they didn’t offer much of a yield, but I couldn’t resist harvesting some leaves and including them with breakfast for whatever nutrition they would contribute.
I washed and chopped the leaves, and cooked them in a small lidded pot with a few drops of water. The wet leaves cook up quickly with very little added water. I mixed the cooked dock leaves with eggs and salt.
I poured the egg mixture into a greased medium hot skillet.
Before the eggs were completely cooked I threw in some Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds so they would only partially melt, retaining some of their chewy consistency.
The grayish coloration imparted by the dock greens may be off-putting to some, but the flavor of this dish would not be.