Posts Tagged With: fish

Pretty & Pretty Zesty – Oxalis

Oxalis 1102808_1280Jacqueline Soule here today, posting at the end of the month – in time to get ready for next month!  For  February, I wrote about the edible flowers called heartease (also called pansy and violet).  Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day it’s time to add another edible flower to your repertoire – oxalis (also called shamrock and wood sorrel).  Oxalis has a long history of use as human food, including here in the Southwest.

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Oxalis Overview
There are over around 600 species of Oxalis, plus numerous horticultural varieties, and all of them contain the same chemical that gives rhubarb it’s tart flavor, oxalic acid.  Don’t be put off by the “acid!”  Vinegar is acetic acid, and you’ve had that before.

Oxalis tuberosa wiki free

Most Oxalis species have tubers, some quite large, and those are sold for eating as “oca.” They can be tart and are generally mixed in stews, soups, or with other tubers.  In Michocan, Mexico, the vegetable vendor recommended mixing them with potatoes and turnips to add flavor.  I promptly bought some and grew them for many years, eating only the leaves and flowers and preserving the roots to grow more of these lovely plants.

oxalis wrap 1974 webEnjoy.
Oxalis commonly sold as “shamrocks” have tiny, scaly tubers, about the size of a mung bean, so the leaves and flowers will be the part you will use. Flowers and leaves can be added to salads and soups for a zesty, citrusy tang. Or capitalize upon this lemony flavor and puree leaves with fresh dill and a drizzle of olive oil to use on fish – delightful!  The flavor of oxalis also works well to make a “lemon” chicken.

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So far I have also mixed diced oxalis flowers and leaves into omelets, fritattas, potato salad, egg salad, and put it in “wraps” with cream cheese, turkey, or ham.  A friend chops oxalis and adds it along with fresh oregano her goat cheese.

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Oxalis plants grow well in the Southwest, but they may go dormant is summer. Not to worry, they come back from tubers as the weather cools – as long as you keep the soil dry while they are dormant.

The pink flowered species found in Tucson barrios grows well in our alkaline soils, and there is much botanical discussion as to it’s true name (I won’t bore you with the details). I call mine barrio oxalis when I share tubers with friends. What ever the correct name may be – it adds zest to many of my meals.

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Don’t eat oxalis just purchased unless it is labeled “organic.” Ornamental plants such as oxalis are very often treated with toxic insecticides and fungicides (biocides) that are systemic (throughout all plant tissues) and stay in the plants for around three months. Herbs and vegetable plants are not legally treated with systemic biocides because they are edibles.


JAS avatarIf you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my lectures. Look for me at your local Pima County Library branch, Steam Pump Ranch, Tubac Presidio, Tucson Festival of Books and other venues. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including the latest, Month-by-Month Garden Guide for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico (Cool Springs Press, $26).

© Article copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission. I receive many requests to reprint my work. My policy is that you may use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Photos © Jacqueline A. Soule where marked and they may not be used.  Featured image is courtesy of the Netherlands Bulb Information Center.



Categories: Cooking, edible flowers, Edible Landscape Plant, Gardening, heirloom crops, Kino herb, medicinal plant, Sonoran herb, Southwest Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pescado en Mole Verde, Spring Roots with Spicy Creamy Dip


Hello, Amy Valdés Schwemm here, celebrating spring with two recipes using Mano Y Metate Mole Verde.

Spring root vegetables are on the table now! Carrots and purple diakon from Tucson CSA/Crooked Sky Farms, baby onions, and Cylindra beets from the Breckenfelds are very tender. The purple daikon is so mild and the baby beets and carrots sweet, and all prettiest when fresh. I’m sure we’ll have humongous taproots later in the season that will need roasting or pureeing.


I love creamy dips with crisp, raw veggies. My sister makes a spicy and creamy dip from Mole Verde powder and sour cream. Just mix the two ingredients to taste and refrigerate to let the flavors blend.

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Common sour cream works beautifully for this dish, but I had milk to use up, so I made homemade cultured ricotta to use as the base.

021To make, gently heat any milk in a pot directly on the stove to almost boiling, add strained lemon juice a spoonful at a time, then stir and watch the tiny curds form and the whey turn translucent. (My milk was raw and apparently soured enough to form curds when heated without added acid.) Allow to cool to room temperature, add an envelope of “Bob and Ricki’s Sour Cream Culture” available in Tucson from Brew Your Own Brew.

Strain though a cloth napkin, incubate at room temperature for 24 hours (either hanging in the tied up cloth or in a covered dish). For a smooth texture, whip in a blender or food processor. Salt to taste and refrigerate.

When you add the Mole Verde powder to taste, it can be as spicy or mild as you like. Delicious on tacos or any savory dish where you would use Mexican crema.




Pescado en Mole Verde/Fish with Mole Verde

I’m waiting patiently for the tilapia to grow to harvestable size at a local school’s aquaponic system, so in the meantime, I purchase filets from the market. Simply oil both sides and bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. To make the sauce, put a couple tablespoons of chicken fat and one tin of Mole Verde powder in a saucepan, and stir until the paste is sizzling and fragrant. Add a cup of chicken broth and simmer until it thickens. (Any mild oil and broth can be used.) Pour over fish and return to the oven to keep warm.

Mano Y Metate Mole Verde powder is only thickened with pumpkin seeds and sesame, where the other mole powders are thickened with organic corn tortilla meal and/or organic graham cracker in addition to other nuts and seeds. So Mole Verde makes a lighter sauce than the other moles, perfect for spring. It is spicy from roasted green Hatch chiles and jalapeno. The herbal notes are from parsley, cilantro and epazote. See Jacqueline’s excellent posts about each of those herbs.


Serve with plain rice, corn tortillas, and lettuce drizzled with lime juice. I had an anxious tester that doesn’t eat dairy, but I sometimes I add creama and a melty cheese to the sauce, reminiscent of Mariscos Chihuahua’s famous Filete Culichi.


Have a good spring and enjoy the weather and wildflowers, and I’ll be back here in May.



Categories: Cooking, herbs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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