Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantina) as food!

I’ve known for a while that lamb’s ears were edible, but the only way I’ve heard of them being eaten was as a battered and fried Portuguese (and Brazilian?) dish called “peixinho da horta” (aka “little garden fish”). I had assumed that this method was just a good way to overcome the fuzzy texture to make them palatable.

Today, with all the fresh and tender new spring leaves on my lamb’s ear patch I felt inspired to give them a try. I made a simple batter with egg, rice flour, water, salt & pepper and then dipped each leaf into it using the leaf petioles as handles. Then I fried them in a shallow layer of oil in my skillet. They fried up beautifully with the batter easily holding tightly to the fuzzy leaves (with their little handle “tails” sticking out the end).

The result was surprisingly fluffy and soft in texture despite being fried (not greasy either as they didn’t soak up much oil). They were VERY mild and I made a dipping sauce for them which made me feel almost like I was eating chicken nuggets as a kid (cause the overall taste and texture). I would definitely make these again, but for my adult pallet would probably add more seasonings to make them a bit spicy. I could imagine the simple version would be very well accepted by kids though (and they’d have fun helping make them).

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And if you’re wondering; yes there were some aphids on the leaves, but no I did not bother trying to rinse them off before battering and frying. They were tender too. lol…

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Like sugar sprinkles once their nectar caramelized?

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What? No lamb’s quaters to go with your lamb’s ears?

GJ, looks yummy.

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Speaking of sugar, I was thinking if these were sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar instead of a savory dipping sauce they’d make a VERY appealing desert!

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I have to say now that I no longer think this is a way to simply “hide the fuzz” as the fuzz played a key role in the end result. If they had been smooth leaves they wouldn’t have been so fluffy.

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We have on our property something similar called Mullein

How tall do Lamb’s Ear’s get?

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Mullein has medicinal uses, but is not closely related to lamb’s ear. I’m not aware of any edible uses for mullein.

My lamb’s ear gets about a foot tall, but flowering forms can get slightly taller.

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Hi. Just to correct a small detail, peixinhos da horta is a portuguese dish.
Yours looks great! :yum:

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Thanks for the correction. At first I wondered how I could have made that mistake. Then I realized it’s because they speak Portuguese in Brazil and I had seen Brazilian references to the dish. :slight_smile:

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No problem. We sent the dish to Brazil. :grin:
And congratulations, your peixinhos da horta looks yummy! :yum:

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They were tasty. I really want to make them with my nephews and nieces cause I think they’d have fun making them and enjoy eating them too!

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Our traditional recipe of peixinhos da horta is made with green beans, but you can do it with any vegetable.

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Beautiful. I would love to try them!

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I had that at a restaurant and didn’t even realize what it was. What is the sauce made of?

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Well usually we don’t eat it with any sauce. But you can do it with any sauce you like…

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Kudzu leaves and blossoms are nice when battered and fried like this.

Did the aphids confer any special flavor? Like… when the (little black) ants are swarming on my mulberries, they give a minty, tingly taste sensation to the flavor of the berries…

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Fun fact: peixinhos da horta is the ancestor of Japanese tempura.

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I must have dug up and pitched two bushels of those things this week. They can get pretty invasive and competitive, smothering and choking just about everything. But I agree, they look tasty fried up like that.

What does peixinhos mean? Thanks!

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