Common and spiny sow thistle (Sonchus asper and S. oleraceus) aren’t just two very common weeds, Both of them are also very tasty free vegetables, and they even do pop up right in the vegetable garden: Both are best used young, before they flower, and can be used to replace a slightly bitter lettuce or endive, were it not that they are often quite prickly, being a thistle and all. This makes them not that suitable for raw use (depending on the specimen, some are still soft enough for a salad, and the leaves are, always very soft and tender, regardless of the spines). I mostly use them for my wild ‘andijviestoemp ” (Flemish traditional mashed potatoes with endive, very delicious with a baked sausage), or a simple mixed vegetarian lettuce soup, like I did today.
The recipe for the soup is very simple:
1 small potato
2 hands of milk thistle leaves
a borth cube, salt, pepper
Cut the onion into small pieces and fry, add potato cubes and chopped milk thistle and let simmer with a little water; Add broth and herbs, and then when everything is cooked, mix with an immersion blender. Add water and then let it cook for the flavors to mix and develop some more …
It’s just a nice simple vegetarian summer-soup, made of a vegetable that you would otherwise just have disposed of as a weed …
Tip: this kind of mixed soups has an even better taste the day after you’ve made it …