Monday, March 2, 2009
OMG! Poke Salad at a Gourmet Restaurant!
Seriously! We went out for dinner this weekend and were served Poke Salad as a complimentary appetizer! It was exquisitely delicious, and you can imagine the thrill I felt to be served wild food. John J Jeffries is the restaurant at the Lancaster Arts Hotel, and they do specialize in local, organic foods, but still...Poke?
The salad, prepared by pastry chef Brian "Booty Shaker" Burton, consisted of finely chopped Poke, pickled carrots & onion, olive oil, salt & pepper, Rosemary & Thyme. Simple and simply divine.
Poke has been eaten as a very early Spring tonic green for ages. The theory is that it helps to get things moving as we leave Winter weight behind. Once it gets larger it's no longer edible. The photo above is so you'll know which plant I'm talking about, but don't eat it when it looks like that. You only eat the tiny new shoots in the Spring, like these:
Poke root has long been cautiously used by traditional healers to dissolve breast tumors. Jethro Kloss recommended making a poultice of raw grated root, but that seems a bit extreme to me. It would probably eat away at the skin first. Yipes. Susun Weed talks about using olive oil infused with Poke root for breast lumps in her book, Breast Cancer? Breast Health! When I studied with Matthew Wood, he taught us that a drop or 2 of Poke tincture was the remedy for "lazy teenagers of any age".