Ground elder has long been on my list of wild vegetables I'd like to take into my repertoire. It's one of those plants that other bloggers into this kind of things seem charmed about. As I've walked around, it's felt as if I see it everywhere, but haven't had the courage to pick. You see, it's a real danger to mix it up with some other vascular plant, which in turn can be quite poisonous. This is especially an issue if you want to pick young shoots which are all wrinkled. The plants should really be recognised on the previous summer and see there isn't other plants between them before returning to the place.
Yesterday I visited a friend who lives in this lovely little cottage by a small forest, but only a ten-minute bus journey away from the city center. She gave me some rhubarb and lovage from her garden but also showed me a dense growth of ground elders and gave me scissors so I could pick them myself and thus learn how they grow. This feels much more assuring than just looking at pictures of them.
Now I should only learn how to best use them. The first thing I tried was as the salad leaves in this seasonal salad. In Finland potato salad usually means potato cubes drowned in mayonnaise or such but I didn't really think that would make right to potatoes at their best.
- 600 g new potatoes
- 1 big punch of young ground elders
- 1 small punch of pea shoots
- 1 small punch of spring onion
- 1 pickle
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp mustard
Don't peel the potatoes but wash if they're muddy. Cook in salted water. If they're bigger than your mouth, cut them a little. Rinse the ground elders, the pea shoots and the onions. Cut them into convenient pieces and add with the potatoes. Chop the pickle as well.
Mix the salad. Add the sauce ingredients. Mix again. Eat right away or let it marinade for a few hours.