Wild broccoli: creasy greens flower buds.


When I was a tiny kid I used to love climbing around the hillside above our pasture looking for creasy greens in the early spring. 

I still love creasy greens.

Creasy greens are Barbarea verna, in the mustard family. They taste a little mustardy, a little sweet, a little bitter. Reminiscent of very young collards, but wilder. 

I like to pick them when they’re about to bloom, when they’re a lot like “wild broccoli” (or broccolini, rapini, broccoli raab, or whatever they’re calling it these days). 

Wander over old fields or woods edges, find creasy bunches that are about to bloom (here’s a picture), and pick the buds, plus a few inches of tender stem. Cook them any way you like, but I think they’re especially good in a frittata with some ramp greens, or green garlic.

Here’s how:

Pick creasy greens buds. Rinse if necessary.

Saute in fat of choice (schmalz, lard, butter, or olive oil) with some ramp greens, green garlic, or onions.

When cooked through, add a few eggs that are slightly beaten and seasoned to taste. (Remember, frittata should be mostly vegetables. You don’t want to use so much egg that you overwhelm the filling. Egg is there to hold it together. As the boy says, “Frittata is not an egg dish.”)

You can cook the frittata on top of the stove for a bit, then finish it under the broiler, or you can do it the Italian way: once it’s set well on the bottom, detach it and turn it over in the pan to finish cooking.

Either way, it’s rather tasty.

We had some the other day with cold baked potatoes and homemade ramp mayonnaise, and some spring greens. (The mayonnaise was good on everything, including the frittata. Eggs on eggs — it must be spring!)



  1. Rosie_Kate said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

    Mmm… yummy! I’ve been eating the tender little leaves since early March. I’ll have to go out and see if I can find some buds!

  2. Mary Catherine said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

    How do you keep the egg mixture from sticking to your cast iron? I’m always completely successful at cooking with cast iron, except for eggs. Mine always stick terribly.

  3. April said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

    Oh, I know exactly what plant you are talking about now.
    Thanks for the post!
    Also, I love the tablecloth.

  4. crabappleherbs said,

    May 3, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

    Rosie_Kate: I hope you found some!

    Mary Catherine: Wow, I could probably do a whole blogpost on cast iron, but these are the key things: make sure your cast iron is seasoned well; make sure it’s nice and evenly heated before you add your fat; use plenty of fat.

    April: You’re welcome. And thanks!

  5. lovinglandbase said,

    May 5, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    thank you for explaining this- sounds delicious!

  6. adrianne said,

    June 5, 2009 @ 12:56 am

    Loved your post and love the basket you gathered creasy greens in – holy moly it’s beautiful. It looks like grape vines, is it? Any interest in doing a future post on making a basket like that (i.e. when should i cut my grape vines, what does the bottom look like). thanks!

  7. Style – Resolved: Ramps, Passé. Creasy Greens, New! | foodgeekology said,

    July 20, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    […] a personal story about the Soon-To-Be-Star from The Herbwife’s Kitchen When I was a tiny kid I used to love climbing around the hillside above our pasture looking for […]

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