Wild Food Lab is a collaboration between Transitional Gastronomy and Urban Outdoor Skills.
We forage what's available seasonally and then both research and test how each ingredient was used in the past, as well as experiment and create new methods and means of utilizing these wild ingredients.
The result is wild cuisine that's interpreted for today's palate with a modern culinary perspective.
beautiful yucca whipplei shoot at its prime
very versatile yucca whipplei
peel the outside, the entire interior is edible
yucca flowers, edible and beautiful
golden beets, radish, shallots mis-en-place
lightly blanch beets, salted water
wild fennel compound butter, for snails
get in the oven already!
delicate leaves, mustard flower dressing
a really nice and light starter
i eat the flowers like i would artichoke leaves
perfect, snaily bite
need to blanch the yucca first, can be a little bitter
pan roasted yucca in beurre noisete
here simmered in bay infused water, simple
Pascal's infused and smoked salts...perfect for this dish
the yucca caramelizes well...develops a sweet crusty, nutty flavor
ginger infused then dehydrated tuile of yucca
mis-en-place yucca carpaccio
pollack roe...will give the mild yucca a little punch
heart quail eggs
yucca carpaccio, all gone
yuccacine, mustard flower cream
another perfect bite
reminiscent of green papaya, makes a nice thai "pok pok" salad
yucca tastes a little like artichoke and mushroom, here a simple gratin 101
just because and we had eggs from the farm that day
pascal's yucca bourguingnon
pascal's yucca jerky...phenomenal
pascal getting the yuca flowers
moi...loafing around in a field of wild currants
freshly cut yucca whipplei shoot
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Yucca Stories: Spring 2012
All Things Yucca Whipplei!
Let's take a little trip down memory lane. Yucca whipplei...not quite describable and when I first started cooking with it, I thought..."meh." It's a little watery, cucumber-y, slightly sweet finish. But it's a beautiful, mysterious wild food to me and after a few years, it's become a favorite and a staple. Pascal is like a preserving mad man when it's in season as the season is so short and we want to utilize what we do harvest as to not waste them or over harvest.
It's related to the agave and looks a little like it. The entire shoot when young, is edible, as are the beautiful white puffy flowers. The flowering plant is really a site to see as it's a stark white against the California scrub.
When people ask me what it tastes like, I say, "When raw..a little like green papaya and when boiled or steamed like artichoke/mushroom and when grilled...a little sweet like asparagus/artichoke." It’s really the tofu of the wild foods, LOL. Let’s take a little trip and see what you can do with it. There are many talented chefs experimenting, so here’s my interpretation.
Yucca Flower Niçoise
The flowers are so beautiful and although neutral, they do have a very subtle, sweet flavor that’s pretty clean. And we have access to fresh forest snails that have been feasting on wild rosemary. So…this is my take on a niçoise. It’s a very simple dish with sweet and anise notes and a very light mustard finish.
Blanched golden beets
Yellow mustard flower and garlic sauce
Forest escargot broiled with wild fennel butter
I was planning something small and portable for an event so cubed it was. Here I simmered the yucca in a CA bay leaf and wild spice bouquet garnis and served it with a very rare steak bite and tomato “heart” along with some of Pascal’s smoked and infused salts (CA Bay, wine).
Yucca shoot, simmered in wild spice bouquet garnis
Rare steak and tomato with smoked and infused salts
Parboiled yucca pan seared in wild sage beurre noisette with steak
Ginger infused yucca, then dehydrated around a form
Lambsquarter and Thyme sauce
Yucca sliced super thin before par-boiling in sesame oil/ginger infusion
Poached quail egg, seasoned roe, mustard and radish flowers, wild arugula and wild radish pod salad with enoki
Yucca , squash and carrot strands
Wild mustard leaf, garlic and cream sauce
And there so many more things you can do. We’re always discovering new ways to use this plant, like this:
Yucca “Pok Pok” Thai-inspired salad - has a natural green papaya taste
Yucca Gratin – homey and good, just cream and butter and garlic
Yucca Scotch Eggs – because we had farm eggs that day
Yucca “Bourguignon” – Pascal made this one, reminds him of home
Yucca Jerky – Pascal has perfected this and I swear it tastes, looks and has the texture of jerky, amazing!
Have an amazing yucca story? We would love to hear and be inspired by you!