Warrigal greens, native to Australia and New Zealand, grows vigorously in Sydney. While in theory it’s an annual, it self-seeds so vigorously that once you have one plant, you have a steady supply forever.
On more than one occasion it’s kept us going when we haven’t had any other greens growing, such as spinach or kale. It can be used just like spinach, with the proviso that warrigal greens must be cooked for at least 3mins (it’s high in oxalic acid — which is toxic — and the cooking breaks that down to make it safe).
This is the first of a number of recipes we’ll be posting that combine traditional seasonal ingredients with native elements…
Warrigal greens pizza
800-900g of ripe tomatoes (any varieties as long as they’re fresh from the garden)
250g of warrigal greens (leaves and young shoots)
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
half a red onion
100g of mozzarella or pizza cheese mix
pizza base (home-made or store-bought)
Making the pizza sauce:
- Start by adding some olive oil to a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Cut the fresh tomatoes roughly into pieces and add to the saucepan.
- Cook until the tomatoes break down into a rough sauce, helping the process by squashing the tomatoes with a potato masher or heavy spoon. This will take 10-15 mins depending on the varieties of tomatoes used.
- Cut the garlic into thin slices and add to the pan along with the basil leaves.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, and then strain the sauce through a sieve. Press down on the mix with a wooden spoon to ensure as much sauce is kept as possible. (If you’ve got backyard chickens, they’ll adore the left-over tomato skins and seeds.)
- Add the strained sauce back into the pan, and cook for 20-25mins to reduce to a thicker consistency (it will still be quite thin, but that’s OK).
Making the pizza:
- Meanwhile, set the the oven to its highest setting, and place a pizza tray in to pre-heat.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and add the warrigal greens.
- Cook for 3 minutes, and then pour out into a strainer. Wash with cold water, and then squeeze the moisture out.
- Thinly slice half a red onion.
- Cover the pizza base with the fresh tomato sauce, and some of the cheese.
- Scatter generously with the warrigal greens, and top with the sliced onion.
- Add a little flaked salt, and then cover with the remaining cheese.
- Put into the oven, and cook until golden brown.
It’s a super-simple recipe, and the warrigal greens are just like spinach but with a rounder flavour. If you have picky eaters, don’t tell them it isn’t spinach, and they’ll never know!