Dock with Bacon and Onions

As you might well imagine, I've been dying to get my game on with foraging.  I've been out on my bike, watching, waiting, tick tock, for weeks now.  Part of the problem is that the plants are just emerging (and you know, snow and freezing temps, yada yada).  But also there's the problem that the plants which emerged first are located in spots where they are not safe to eat.

See the dock (Rumex crispus) in the picture?  That particular bunch of dock is seated next to a well-travel dog path, and below an apartment complex; in other words, not good eats.  But every day as I ride past this dock plant, its near-perfect leaves taunt and tantalize me.  For some strange reason, the dock plants growing in safe areas are only an inch or two long and already bug-eaten.  But as I'd tell any man who asked, size doesn't matter (~wink~), and I'm not afraid of bug-eaten produce.

Don't worry, for the past six days, with a little persistence, I've been able to scrounge up enough dock for dinner.  Yep, we've had dock with our meal every night for almost a week now.  And nobody is complaining.  In fact, there never seems to be enough.

This is seasonal, local food at it's best.  The fields that dot the local suburban landscape that surrounds my home are just loaded with dock at the moment.  Therefor, it makes perfect sense that dock should be dominating my kitchen right now.  By the time we're all sick of dock, it will be too big and tough and full of bug holes to be enjoyed anyhow.  And by then, another veg will have come on strong (asparagus!)

But for now, dock greens are perfection, just what I'm craving now that it's springtime.  And like any leafy green, dock is especially nice when kissed by bacon and sweet onions.

Dock Sauteed with Bacon and Onions

After gathering dock, give it a good soak in cold water and a spoonful of vinegar.  Then pull the leaves out of the water, rather than draining them, because this leaves all of the dirt settled at the bottom of the water.  Finally, put the dock leaves in a salad spinner to somewhat dry them (a touch of water helps them to cook, so no need to be too fussy).

In a pan with a spoonful of lard, saute a few pieces of chopped bacon, along with half an onion (or more, or garlic, if you prefer).  When the bacon gets crispy, use a pair of scissors to cut handfuls of dock into 2" pieces into the pan (if using larger/older leaves, you may want to remove the center rib).  Cook the dock just until it starts to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper.

Check out what dock looks like in the fall, or what it looked like just last week as it popped out of the ground.

I'm sharing this post with Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday, and Fight Back Friday.


  1. You're good! I can't believe you can just recognize it and make something so yummy from it. I know who I want with me if I ever get lost in the woods.

  2. When i came here, always get some thing to learn new. thanks for introducing me to dock. love the saute.

  3. I live in southern Illinois, and curly dock is a perennial weed here. are all dock species edible? it would be great to eat this pasture enemy

  4. I believe that all docks are edible (but don't ever take my or anyone else's word for it, research and *know* for your own satisfaction). I think the greater issue is palatability. I'd pick a leaf or two, cook them and taste-test.

  5. Made a small bit of this to try out the recipe, turned out great, just want to cook the bacon and onions before you put in the dock.


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