Every now and then TJOC surprises me (usually in a bad way). Sometimes it's a weird ingredient, sometimes it's a bizarre cooking method, sometimes it's an strange piece of equipment. I honestly didn't know how I was ever going to make Sauteed milkweed pods (p. 279). I don't think milkweed pods are available in any grocery store (even the most esoteric of them) and the only recipes for them online appeared to be on survivalist websites. My main experience with milkweed pods was walking around with my childhood bestie Jennifer, pulling them off of our elementary school fence, and opening the pods so they spewed out their milky guts (I think we are probably responsible for a giant milkweed problem on our elementary school fence lines).
Rachel had taken it as her personal mission to help me figure this recipe out. She had spotted milkweeds while biking to work one day so she knew it was "milkweed season". When I got to Iowa, she "harvested" some milkweed pods off of random fences (sorry if we stole your milkweeds, Ames residents!). While reading up on milkweeds, I noticed that they are apparently jam packed with latex, to which I'm seriously allergic, so it's a really good thing I read the Wikipedia page and abstained!
The young milkweeds (they look like alien vegetables):
I boiled the pods for about five minutes (they made strange noises, so if they do that for you, don't be concerned)(what kind of weird noise? Sort of like a tire deflating).
In a skillet I heated some olive oil and added minced garlic, cooking until fragrant.
I added the milkweed pods, used a little salt and pepper, and cooked it all for a few more minutes. I added grated Parmesan:
Nobody really wanted to try this recipe but I kept pointing out that most things are good when cooking in olive oil and then seasoned with garlic and Parmesan, so the recipe was giving the milkweed pods the best chance they could have.
Rachel said that they were surprisingly good! She said they sort of tasted like zucchini and she would eat them again. My mom, who was seriously skeptical, even said the one she ate was good. So if you have milkweeds climbing up your fences, eat them! But make sure they are still young and tender.
Now I just have to find the rest of the strange stuff I need...