I’ve been meaning to make something with warrigal greens for the blog for quite some time now, and seeing my stock of recipes had dried up since getting back from South Africa, it was time to get cooking again.
Warrigal greens – or tetragonia tetragonioides – is a creeper that can be found near certain coastal areas of Australia, New Zealand and a few other Pacific nations.
A weed to some, and often eaten after Captain Cook spotted the green leaves growing on shore in 1769. Fresh, vitamin-rich food wasn’t all that abundant on the explorers ships during the long journeys – not that vitamins were known about back then – so little did they know that they were fighting off scurvy by eating the cooked warrigal greens.
I know you can buy it from certain providers, but I have of a few places near home where I can pick it safely, legally and responsibly. Most importantly, if you choose to forage yourself, make sure you know what you’re picking!
You can liken warrigal greens to spinach, but it must be blanched for 3 minutes before you eat it, to kill off the oxalic acid. Too easy.
I adore the fresh, green colour of the gnocchi I’ve made, and keeping it simple by tossing it in browned butter, black garlic and parmesan, the flavours aren’t over-complicated. The sweet, smokiness the black garlic brings is magical – love the stuff.
For a final adornment, I’ve used some leaves and flowers from native violet. Completely edible and rather pretty. And I love that my city council planted loads of them right in front of my house. Bonus!