Warrigal Greens – also known as Warrigal Spinach, New Zealand Spinach or even Botany Bay greens – were one of the first native Australian vegetables to become popular with European settlers. Looking for ways to fight scurvy, Captain Cook encouraged his men to eat them, and many convicts owed their lives to the spinach-like plant. The plant was taken back to England by the botanist Joseph Banks and became popular there for a time.
Some caution should be taken with Warrigal Greens, as the leaves do contain toxic oxates, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. To remove the oxates blanch the leaves for 3 minutes or so, then rinse the leaves in cold water before using them in salads or for cooking.
Warrigal Fetta Tart
Divide a sheet of puff pastry into four, place a thin slice of capsicum on top and fill with warrigal greens and feta mix. Top with a slice of tomato. Season to taste. Wrap the excess puff pastry over the edge of the capsicum and then baste with a lightly beaten egg. Bake at 180C (fan forced)for 35 mins.
To make the warrigal greens and feta mix: steep 100gm warrigal greens leaves in hot water for 5 minutes and then plunge into cold. Drain. Squeeze out the excess water and then roughly chop. Mix in 125gm diced Persian feta (this is marinated in garlic and herbs).
Warrigal Greens & Desert Lime Pesto
250 g Warrigal Greens
1 cup Parsley leaves and stalk
200 g Macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons Desert Limes
1 tablespoon of honey
3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
250 ml Macadamia Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic
Blend all the ingredients and then store in the fridge until use.
Warrigal Stuffed Capsicum
Gorgeous red capsicum stuffed with ricotta, onion, garlic warrigals, basil, native thyme, sea parsley, egg, pecorino cheese, dorrigo pepper, mountain pepper, white kunzea, sea salt. Baked at 180C 45mins.
100gm fresh warrigal greens that have been steeped in hot water for 3 minutes and then rinsed in cold.
Lightly fry the 1 diced onion and 1 minced clove of garlic in a little olive oil.
Mix 2 cups of fresh ricotta, the warrigal greens, the onion and garlic, a handful of fresh basil, sprig of fresh native thyme, sprig of fresh sea parsley, 1 egg, half cup grated pecorino cheese and season with a teaspoon of Wild Pepper and White Kunzea Sea Salt.
Either cut the tops of fresh capsicums or cut in half and deseed. Stuff the ricotta mix into the capsicums and sprinkle more grated pecorino on top.
Bake at 180C for 45 minutes.