My first round with wild chickweed was the eye-opening Chickweed Chimichurri over Tuna Poke. For that I used a handful common chickweed (Stellaria media) foraged from a neglected rock garden down the block. Round 2 was a different species, mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum), which I found growing adjacent to a neglected plot in a local p-patch.
The operative word here is neglected. Urban foragers should seek out these forgotten places: abandoned lots, pocket parks, de-facto green spaces. They’re abundant with weeds, p-patches in particular, since the soil is usually of good quality. This p-patch in particular was bursting with red deadnettle (pictured above), dandelions, cat’s ears, mint, and chickweed.
Mouse-ear chickweed, unlike common chickweed, is covered in tiny hairs. It’s recommended to cook it first before eating, so I boiled mine for a few minutes, drained it, and then added it to the food processor with raw garlic, red pepper, a few heaping tablespoons of yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, and a little bit of hot pepper, then whirred it into a creamy sauce—basically a chimichurri blended with yogurt.
Next I slathered a fillet of Alaskan rockfish with it and fired up the grill. The color isn’t as striking as the chimichurri—alas, it’s more of a puke green—but the taste was distinctive, green, garlicky, somewhat reminiscent of stinging nettle pesto but lighter because of the lemon and yogurt. I’ll definitely be making this sauce again, perhaps with a little less garlic.
Lunch the following day? Leftover Rockfish Sammy with Chickweed Sauce.