Virginia Bluebells or Borage Greens with Walnut Sauce
A dish of Virginia Bluebells, borage, or other greens inspired by traditional Italian and Slavic recipes with a rich walnut dressing. A pinch of crushed red pepper can be a nice addition.
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American, Italian, Slavic
Keyword: Black Walnuts, Borage, Virginia Bluebells
4ozVirginia Bluebell shoots, 4-8 inches borage, or another green you like can be substituted.
¼cupblack walnutsor other nuts or seeds that are easily crushed
1.5tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
Pinchof kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1medium clove of garlic
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice and a scrape or two of zest
Immerse the Virginia Bluebells in cold water and allow to soak for 5 minutes to clean them, then remove and gently spin dry. Reserve a few flower clusters for a garnish (optional).
Toast the nuts lightly in a hot oven or pan until aromatic, then cool completely. Crush the garlic clove with a pinch of salt and pepper (they act as abrasives) and mash it up well, then add the nuts crush them, and gradually add the olive oil and lemon juice, mashing to a coarse paste.
Season the paste with an extra pinch of salt to taste-it should be well seasoned. Reserve the nut paste.
Meanwhile, prepare a steamer basket in a pot with 2 inches of boiling water, add the Virginia bluebells and cook until just hot and wilted (30-60 seconds was fine for me, but borage leaves could take 5 minutes or more, and I would probably blanch it instead of steaming).
Taste a shoot here and there to make sure the texture is to your liking. If your shoots are longer than 5 inches, cut them into 1 inch segments before or after cooking.
When you’re pleased with them, remove the shoots and leaves with tongs to a bowl, allowing some water to drip off in the process.
Add the walnut paste to the greens and mix thoroughly but gently. From here the greens can be put in a covered container and held for serving later, but I think they’re probably best, still a bit warm, straight from the pot.
Before serving, double check the seasoning quick and adjust as needed for oil, salt, pepper, and lemon until it tastes good to you. Serve at room temperature, warm, or cool.