Last month, inspired by a post about pokeweed by Thunder, I posted about pokeweed and the country-rock standard Polk Salad Annie. We actually have quite a bit of pokeweed growing on-site here, far north of the Mason-Dixon line:
I was actually lucky enough to encounter a couple of small poke plants, small enough to be solidly in the 'pick me' category:
Erring on the side of caution, I boiled the pokeweed that I had harvested in three changes of water, then sauteed it in some olive oil with some garlic. The greens have a nice flavor, similar to that of spinach... and I consumed them without any ill effects, though they do tend to 'clean you out' very well if you know what I mean, and I think that you do. I can readily see a small amount of pokeweed becoming part of the weekly foraging take, in season. We have a secondary growth of stinging nettles coming up, and the pokeweed would be a good accompaniment for the nettles and lamb's quarters in my typical green slurry.
So, now that I'm a poke-eater, I guess that I could qualify for a song of my own:
Polk Salad Bastard, the dude likes getting plastered.
Everybody thought it was a joke, that this Northern boy is chowing down on poke.
A big, bald, Schick razor shaving bastard.
I found a really great cover version of Polk Salad Annie by Sammarinese singer Little Tony (who's a better Ciacci than Scott Baio ever could be). I particularly like this version because he was singing the song phonetically and made some charming errors due to his unfamiliarity with such regionalisms as 'truck patch'. I find this version a lot of fun, but not quite as much fun as Tony Joe White's duet with Johnny Cash:
I think Italians would 'get' the whole polk salad thing- Italian cuisine specializes in making bitter things delicious, and pokeweed seems like it belongs alongside such greens as escarole, arugula, and radicchio. I think poke would go well with beans, which like pokeweed can be poisonous if prepared incorrectly. Like poke, they can also clean you out really well.