Explainers

What are warrigal greens?

What they taste like, where to find them, and how to use this native vegetable. Plus, a recipe from Orana's Jock Zonfrillo.

What are warrigal greens?

Botanical name: Tetragonia tetragonioides
Aliases: New Zealand spinach or Botany Bay greens
One of the first native plants eaten by Captain Cook's crew to ward off scurvy, warrigal greens can be found along Australia's coastline where it grows best in saline soil. An incredibly versatile, easy-to-grow vegetable, warrigal greens have a fresh, grassy flavour with a slightly bitter finish.

How do I use them?

Larger leaves should typically be blanched or steamed before eating, but smaller young leaves are great eaten raw. It can be substituted in any recipe that uses spinach, chard or Asian greens – the sturdy, fleshy leaves handle heat well, making warrigal greens ideal for stir-fries.
Chef Jock Zonfrillo uses the leafy vegetable at on his Bistro Blackwood menu. "It's great cooked or used raw in pesto or salads," he recommends. Or, try his recipe for XO squid and warrigal greens below.

Where can I find it?

It's easy to grow at home, or it can be foraged from coastal areas, where permitted. Find warrigal greens at farmer's markets, specialist greengrocers, or locate your nearest retail stockist online at outbackpridefresh.com.au.
XO squid with warrigal greens

XO squid with warrigal greens

15 mins preparation | 5 mis cooking (plus resting) | Serves 4
Recipe by Jock Zonfrillo.

Ingredients

  • 4 squid (250gm each), cleaned, butterflied
  • 65 gm XO sauce (see note)
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200 gm small warrigal greens leaves
  • 1 pomelo, segmented
  • 4 spring onions, sliced on an angle
  • ½ long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) mint
  • Fried cassava crackers (see note), to serve

Method

  • 1
    Preheat a barbecue to high. Grill squid, turning once, until lightly charred (1½ minutes each side; the centre should still be raw). Brush with half the XO sauce and set aside to marinate (5 minutes).
  • 2
    Shake oil and lemon juice in a sealed screw-top jar to combine well.
  • 3
    Brush squid with remaining XO sauce and grill until cooked through (1½ minutes each side). Coarsely chop squid and combine with remaining ingredients – except crackers – and dressing in a large bowl, and toss to coat and combine. Serve with cassava crackers.

Notes

XO sauce is available in supermarkets and Asian grocers, as are cassava crackers; follow packet instructions for frying.

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