Greens envy

SN&R Illustration By Mark Stivers

At the Davis farmers’ market recently, I wandered along the aisle unsure what to buy. Sure, the tables were overflowing with fresh spring produce, but everything seemed a little ho-hum—until I caught sight of a stemmy bunch of jagged, almost silvery leaves labeled quelites or lamb’s quarters. I’d read about them, but never tasted them, and that seemed like the perfect thing to try; they’re also called wild spinach, and can be cooked much like that more familiar green. At home, I sautéed the leaves in olive oil, with garlic and red pepper flakes and some raisins (taking off on my favorite treatment for the quelites’ domestic namesake). They stayed bright and delicious, tasting a bit like spinach but with a sweet, haunting note that reminded me a little of pea shoots, as well as a mineral edge. They’d also be good in soups and stews. If you’re feeling a little bored with the average vegetable and happen to spot them at your farmers’ market, by all means go for it.