Trout Lilies – Fried and Roasted

I’ve written before about how I love the idea of a food forest – a backyard stocked with produce that, with a little effort and TLC, will yield delicious edibles all summer and fall-long. This is my first post in what will hopefully become a series: Food Forest Fodder, i.e. things I’ve made from my garden.

At the forefront, fried Trout Lily leaves, at the back, roasted. Delicate and crispy, these little leaves make a wonderful and interesting appetizer.

Trout lilies are not only delicate and beautiful, they’re also one of the first spring flowers to emerge and bloom. Luckily for us, they’re also edible. Traditionally the leaves are eaten raw in a salad (a little sweet and quite refreshing), or steamed with some lemon and rosemary. The tiny tubers can also be eaten raw, and are really delish (once you rinse all the dirt and rootlets off). I wanted to do something different though. I did a quick search on roasting or frying and found diddly, so I decided to just try it. The results were scrumpdiddlyumptious! So, if you have trout lilies in your backyard (no public picking – that’s not nice), grab a few plants, ensuring that you leave lots for later/next year, and give this a try:

  • Handful of trout lily leaves with or without attached tubers
  • Smidgen of EarthBalance butter
  • Sprinkling of garlic powder
  • Sprinkling of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Rub a thin layer of butter on a silpat that’s sitting on a baking pan and set aside. Wash each leaf carefully and dry on a paper towel. Then spread them evenly across the silpat and sprinkle with the garlic powder and sea salt. Toss the pan in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until your leaves are crisp but not brown. Done!

You can always fry them up too:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Sprinkling of Zatarain’s creole spice (or just plain ol’ salt and pepper)

Prepare your trout lilies the same way, ensuring that they are quite dry. Heat up your oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop one leaf in at a time once the oil is hot enough, i.e. the leaves start frying the second you drop them in. Leave them in for about 30-45 seconds then fish them out (NOT with your fingers no matter what the Iron Chefs do) and dry them on a paper towel. They cook very quickly, so keep an eye on them. If your oil is too hot, they’ll start to smoke and turn brown very quickly – you want to get them out before that happens. Pat them dry to remove as much oil as you can, then sprinkle with your favourite spice and serve. Once the oil cools down, you can pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge to reuse over the next week.

One thing – I’ve read that some people are sensitive to them as an emetic (i.e. they make you puke), so maybe don’t eat a whole field full. I’ve eaten about 20-30 leaves in one sitting and never felt a thing, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it. And on that lovely note, enjoy!  *grin*


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