Steamed Garlic Mustard Marinara

The much-maligned and ubiquitous inhabitant of disturbed forest soils—garlic mustard—is in its prime right now. This recipes utilized the tender top 5 or 6 inches. You can harvest them when in flower or bud stage, just follow the stem to the top and bend until they snap cleanly. I harvested mine while pulling them up to feed to my chickens, but you could just as well go for a walk in your local woodland and snag enough in a few minutes. The garlicly, mustardy flavor pairs perfectly with the acidity of the tomatoes, richness of the onions and garlic, and creaminess of the cheese and oil.

What You’ll Need:

2 or 3 large handfuls of tender garlic mustard tops (top 5 or 6 inches)
1 medium onion sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups tomato sauce or puree (or leftover pasta sauce, home canned tomatoes diced up, whatever is on hand)
4 tbsp butter (or your favorite fat/oil)
4 tsp ground black pepper
A fistful of fresh herbs from the garden, chopped (parsley, thyme, oregano, whatever is on hand).
1/2 cup grated hard cheese
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

  • Put a large pan on medium heat and melt your butter.
  • Toss in the garlic and onions, and sweat them down until they’re translucent—should take around 4 or 5 minutes at medium heat.
  • Add in your tomato sauce, black pepper, and half of your fresh herbs. Stir and let bubble for 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Wash up your garlic mustard tops.
  • When the sauce is nice and warm, salt to taste, then lay the garlic mustard on top of the sauce and cover the whole thing with a lid and allow to steam for roughly 2 minutes.
  • Once the garlic mustard turns a bright-ish green, toss the whole lot together, and add in 1/2 or 3/4 of the cheese. Toss again and let stand for a minute.
  • Top with the remaining cheese, a drizzle of fresh oil, and serve with cooked pasta (I love rice or quinoa pasta), cooked rice, or as a side dish.
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