Bobby and Sue come to the Community Resource Center once a month to get free stuff for poor people on behalf of Cannon County REACH, which I think feeds and clothes half of Cannon County. They are country people and proud of it. Bobby says they do organic gardening because they live so far away in the Back of Beyond that the bugs can’t find them. Somewhere along the line Sue learned of my fondness for greens and started bringing me cooked collards and cornbread. I like Sue. A lot.
So yesterday, Sue shows up with something I have never had. Poke Sallet. Poke Sallet is not a salad. It’s a green, also called pokeweed, that grows wild. It’s best eaten in the spring, when the poke shoots are young and tender.
“I don’t know if you like poke sallet,” said Sue, handing me a Cool Whip container of the stuff along with a wedge of cornbread. “I just love it. Bobby doesn’t like it so much.”
I am used to lovely people bringing me food in Cool Whip containers so that doesn’t bother me a bit. I try the poke sallet. I like it! It tastes faintly of asparagus with the consistency of cooked mustard greens. Sue adds eggs to hers, giving the sallet some heft.
It is only after I have consumed the poke sallet that I get on the internet to do some research. As it turns out, if you don’t prepare poke sallet just right it will make you sick. The leaves and especially the root can be poisonous. I pause to hope Sue knew what she was doing. To prepare poke properly you have to boil it at least twice, sometimes three times to get the toxicity out of it. I’m feeling a little whoozy. Oh, maybe that’s the wine.
At any rate, I loved the stuff and I think I will live. I am including a recipe here that I do not endorse in any way from Cooks.Com. I did not create it and I don’t know if it works. But all you country people know what to do with poke. I am sure I will get an earful from Terrell about this. At least, I hope so.
Pick poke when it is small enough to be tender. Parboil in enough water to cover greens (about 10 minutes). Drain and rinse.Cook a second time, until leaves are very tender, drain water off. This 2 step cooking process removes excessive Vitamin A in the leaves which may be toxic.
In a skillet, cook 3 strips bacon to obtain bacon drippings.
Remove bacon, sauté onions. Add drained greens, stirring well. Break 2 eggs into greens and scramble all together.
This is country eating!