Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Bärlauch Season!

Springtime brings a special treat from the woodlands throughout Europe. Bärlauch, or Bear's Garlic, tastes like a very mild, very flavorful garlic and this time of year you find soups, dumplings, salads, pestos and lots of other foods either made of or garnished with bärlauch. My green grocer said it can be used like spinach. Internet sources indicate that Bear's Garlic has medicinal effects similar to but better than cultivated garlic and the chemicals found in it are believed to be useful in preventing heart attacks.

I sauteed onions and mushrooms in olive oil, added a handful of sliced bärlauch leaves at the last minute, poured the mixture over some buttered noodles and added a few more raw bärlauch strips for garnish. Wonderbar! In fact, it tasted so good that this woman, who photographs just about everything, ate so intensely that she didn't remember to take a photo until it was all gone! But never fear; here are other photos of other dishes.

Spätzle made of and garnished with bärlauch:

Knödels or dumplings:

Pretty Bärlauch soup:

IMPORTANT: Bärlauch leaves look a bit like Lily-of-the-Valley leaves which are highly poisonous so be sure to do your research and know what you are doing before harvesting similar leaves in the woods.

By the way, I'm in Texas now, just beating Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull's (say that three times!) dangerous ash and the airport closures throughout Europe by a few hours. I've brought a few photos from Vienna to show you but then it looks like I may be doing posts on Texas wildflowers, cowboys and/or other Texas icons for awhile.

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