Brassicas: Wild and Tame

I’ve been walking through my neighborhood lately to the library instead of driving. Its a nice four mile round trip loop that starts out in a pretty nice area with big properties and then through some open spaces where I’ve been keeping tabs on the overgrown wild plants. Lots of nettles, mushrooms, pepper tree, nasturtium, redbud, pine, redwood, wild radish and lots, and lots, of black mustard. Trying to keep my meals healthy, efficient, simple—yet inspiring—has been top priority for me these days as my foraging times are getting more and more limited. The night before I had some plain broccoli with lemon, salt and garlic. But then I realized, what if I did a version of wild and tame brassicas? Wild brassicas are pretty intense in flavor, some can be downright painful, so I decided to experiment with a blend of the two, something that could be easier for someone who hasn’t tried wild foods before. Here’s a super simple dish that really highlights the wild flavors without being overwhelming:

Brassicas: Wild & Tame


One bunch Baby Broccoli
Juice of One Lemon
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wild Mustard Sauce:
Handful of young mustard leaves
Couple handfuls of conventional greens (I liked the idea of keeping it all in the same family, so I used kale)
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup avocado oil
Salt to taste
Water to thin (and help the blender process it)

Prepare the broccoli by sauteeing it in a cast iron pan with the avocado oil. Cover. Allow it to cook thoroughly, but still keeping its vibrant color. While it is cooking, prepare the sauce by combining all ingredients in a high speed blender and puree until smooth.

Pour sauce into a bowl or a shallow plate and top with broccoli. Here I garnished with a dollop of fresh cashew cream and fermented yucca flowers.

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About Jess

Jess Starwood

Jess Starwood is an established author, chef, herbalist and educator. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine and Holistic Nutrition. In 2021, she wrote and photographed her first book, Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi.

She also writes regularly for Edible Ojai & Ventura County, Edible San Fernando magazines and The Mycophile—the publication of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA).

Jess founded The Wild Path School where she teaches foraging, wild foods, herbalism and nature education classes for adults and children. She is a member of the Culinary Committee for NAMA and is on the board of directors for the Arizona Mushroom Society and the newsletter editor for the Los Angeles Mycological Society. She has also worked as a wild food consultant and forager for Michelin starred chefs Niki Nakayama and Aitor Zabala. Jess has been featured in National Geographic, The Guardian, and the Orange County Register.

Classes and workshops for adults and children are held regularly in the Greater Los Angeles area and west coast. Weekend and week-long wild food adventures are also occasionally available. Be sure to check out the event calendar or join the mailing list to be notified first of openings and availability.