Last fall Pam Kristan led on a foraging hike at Fat Moon and talked about Cattail Shoots in a way that had your farmer’s mouth watering. This spring Pam came back to the farm for an early spring hike and much to our delight, found delicious Cattail Shoots! They are work to harvest- you must wade into the swamp and not be afraid of sticking your hand into the muck or the frogs jumping around you! The reward? An early spring, local vegetable that is crisp, white, and has the scent and flavor of a cucumber and the texture of a leek. These can be eaten raw or lightly steamed. We first tried them while still standing in the the swamp – just pulled out our knife to peel back the swamp muck and found delicious, crisp, white hearts inside.
The first night at home we steamed them lightly and topped them with butter and salt. The four year old thought the butter detracted from the flavor and requested them with just salt.
Cattail Shoots in Cream Sauce
20 – 30 cattail shoots, enough for 4 cups when cut into 1″ pieces
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 T. butter or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 heavy cream
2 T chopped wild chives
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat the oil in a skillet and cook mushrooms until soft
2. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
3. Add cream and cattail shoots. Cover, bring to a gentle boil, and cook for approx 3 minutes.
4. Stir in chives, salt & pepper.
5. Serve with crispy bread to soak up the cream.