Foraged and Found Edibles is our wild foods juggernaut. It seems like a strange concept in a time when so much of our food—one way or another—comes from vast cornfields, their rows as clean and codified as digital ones and zeros.
But how else to say it? If you’ve eaten a wild chanterelle or morel this summer at a Seattle restaurant, chances are Foraged and Found snatched it up in some local forest. Their stands are fixtures at farmers markets across the city.
At Ballard's market Alvin Go, chef at Mkt., and his sous chef John Stone got inspiration for their seasonally transitional plate. Each weekend they haunt local markets, looking for inspiration for their Market Fresh dinner, and each Monday they run a special dish focused on an ingredient or vendor that caught their eye.
“We decided to do a study of berries, if you will.” Go and Stone picked those that are best as summer bleeds into autumn: huckleberries, elderberries, and juniper.
Blue huckleberries and elderberries have brief seasons, appearing in mid-August, gone by September's end. Go likes to take advantage of our ability to get them fresh: “A lot of people think of the Pacific Northwest and they think of blueberries, but I think huckleberries are more indicative of this region, the mountainous terrain.”
Go pairs pan-roasted duck breast with the berries since it too acts as a harbinger of fall, fattier and gamier than chicken, but without the decadence of, say, a duck leg confit.
The preparation is minimal, a quick pickle on the huckleberry, a duck stock reduced to demi glace and laced with elderberries and juniper.
Foraged and Found also supply the final touch: an anachronistic flourish of wild watercress, usually a spring crop since it bitters in summer heat.
And even though proteins tend to take first ranking and focus on plates, Go wants balance here—that is, plenty of berries. “I hate ordering a dish and having it say chanterelles when it only has a couple.”
The dish will run at Mkt. until huckleberry season ends.