Last year i tried the milk thistle first time in my life. Accidentally found some huge pieces in the corner of a street and was too curious to leave it there. I ended up making a pasta dish which was so tasty (with brown butter and preserved lemon) that i had to put that dish in my new upcoming book.
Being back home having superhot summer this year. Giant milk thistle bushes spreading near country roads – passing by i was not able to ignore them anymore. Had to harvest a couple of handfuls. Just cought the right time – if i wait another week the thistle buds get burn by the sun and start drying out which means the texture changes and will loose that amazing green ‘bamboo shooty’, bit corn-like flavour.
The preparation is very easy:
- ***harvest them, carefully cut the biggest heads off from the stem
2. ***not to worry about the black bugs, just check the bottom – bigger bugs quite like that safe spot
3. ***boil some water up and cook the thistle heads for 7-8 minutes. Depending on the size. If you undercook – will suffer not to be able to peel them properly – and/or will take ages. If you overcook the edible part can break into pieces or get mushy.
4. ***the edible part is the little ‘dome’ inside under the seeds and hair – looks like a tiny naked sunflower head
5. ***treat them like baby artichokes, great in salads, with ( pesto) pasta, fish garnish or i just chucked them into my BBQ as i was actually cooking our dinner on the open fire.
6. ***Bit painful to prep (careful with the fingertips) but very healthy gift from the nature. And can grow abundantly in the countryside.
I macerated my buds first with olive oil and wild garlic capers with alexander pepper – then colored them on the BBQ and pop them back to the marinade. Picked some herbs growing wild around the house – like sage (love them crispy!) and thyme and mixed with the thistles.
I smoked and grilled a cauliflower steak before, made some tzatziki with mint, cucumber wild garlic and borage leaves. Served all of this heaven in one plate.
Made my tummy very very happy – washing it down with my elderflower bubbles. Was an awesome tipsy evening.