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Redshank & Aubergine Spring Rolls

Redshank (Persicaria maculosa) is a member of the Dock family. Under-utilised as a wild food it is not very well known about, and very few authors have explored its culinary uses. In this Redshank recipe I hope to address this imbalance.

I find Redshank rather bland as a vegetable, and definitely one that needs to be cooked, but mixed with other more flavoursome ingredients it can be turned into something special.

When I conduct wild food events I often talk about foraging for wild edibles not just for flavour, but also nutritional intake. Obviously flavour is important, but part of why I forage is to increase the minerals and nutrients I take into my body.

I eschew vitamin and mineral supplements that have fragmented our foods into isolated substances that we can quickly take without having to experience the taste and texture of the wild. And we have put them on a pedestal when that pedestal needs to be toppled!

As a forager I consume “a little of a lot” rather than the dominant way of eating which is to consume “a lot of a little”. When you consider that the normal way of consuming fruit and vegetables is to visit a grocers, then you are only at most able to consume up to about 25 different species. Consider that a forager over the course of a year might eat upwards of 250 species and you’ll see that foraging is indeed a healthy lifestyle choice.

Spring Rolls Ingredients

  • 200g Redshank leaves – washed and picked over
  • 1 aubergine (weighing about 300g)
  • small onion
  • olive oil
  • 1tsp sundried tomato paste/puree
  • 2tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • pinch caster sugar
  • 1 fresh red chilli, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 4 ground cloves
  • little freshly grated nutmeg or hogweed seed
  • 12 sheets of filo pastry
  • 50g-75g melted butter
  • salt and pepper

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 3tbsp tamari/soy sauce
  • 2tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2tbsp maple syrup

Simply mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and serve.

Suggested Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C / gas mark 6
  2. Place Redshank leaves in boiling water and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Drain and cool in a bowl of cold water. Dry thoroughly on a tea towel to remove all the water.
  4. Finely dice aubergine and onion. Toss in olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  5. Mix the tomato puree, soy sauce and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the cooked aubergine and onion mixture and mix well. Then add the chilli and spices and season with sale and pepper.
  6. Open the filo pastry. Lay a damp (not wet) tea towel on a work surface. Lay the pastry over half the tea towel and cover with the other half to prevent the sheets drying out.
  7. Place one sheet lengthways in front of you. Lightly brush with melted butter and fold in half lengthwise. Place a tablespoon of the mixture at the end nearest and either roll up or fold over into triangles, making sure the seam is tucked underneath. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets.
  8. (Optional) You can sprinkle with sesame seeds before baking.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with dipping sauce.

About the Author Robin Harford

Robin Harford is a self-taught ethnobotanist, and has spent over a decade traveling, researching, recording and uncovering the traditional and contemporary use of wild plants in Britain and beyond. More recently his work has taken him to Africa, India, SE Asia and Europe. He is a co-director of Plants & Healers International, a non-profit that connects people, plants and healers around the world.

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