By Elaine Corn
Pick young leaves. Grab them by the root; they’ll last longer and stay fresher. Hold them in a tub of ice and water as you pick on a sunny day so they don’t wilt. Rinse them very well in several changes of water until the water runs clear. If making salad, spin dry.
To store for nearly a week, spin dry and pack into freezer-quality zip bags. Squeeze the air out and seal. Store in refrigerator.
Alternatively, wilt the greens in a bit of water in a wok or large pot. Drain, squeeze out all the water and enclose in freezer-quality zip bags with the air pressed out. Freeze.
The steps below have corresponding images to illustrate these steps. (For a larger view of any of the pictures, just click on the image.)
Dandelion saute in olive oil and garlic
|About 4 cups fresh dandelion greens (I like to use the long leaves for this)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon very coarse sea salt
Heat a wide skillet. Add the oil, swirl, then add the greens. Using tongs, move the dandelion greens quickly around the hot oil. Just as they wilt, toss in the garlic and salt. Turn a few more times and transfer to a serving dish.
Wilted greens in egg sauce
Wash 4 cups fresh dandelion greens. Fry 4 strips bacon. Remove the bacon, crumble it and set aside. To the hot grease, add 2 eggs beaten with ¼ cup white vinegar. Quickly add the greens and stir quickly. When slightly wilted and a sauce forms, remove from heat and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Dandelions floating in minestrone
Prepare your favorite minestrone, or use a good quality canned soup. About 10 minutes before serving, add fresh, washed dandelion greens to soup and let wilt before serving. If greens are tender, they will seem to melt into the soup.
Dandelion salad with hard-boiled eggs,Toscano salami and vinaigrette
|About 2 cups packed tender dandelion greens
2 hard-cooked eggs
¼ pound Toscano salami, thinly sliced
Shavings of good hard cheese such as Pecorino or Parmesan
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup olive oil
Place the vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper in a shake jar. Shake. Add oil and shake. Taste for salt. Wash and spin-dry greens. Peel and slice eggs. Toss dandelions with as much dressing as needed to coat leaves lightly. Pile dandelion greens onto 2 large, or 4 smaller salad plates. Decorate with eggs and salami. Top with shavings of cheese. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Tea from the taproot
1 ounce dandelion taproot, cleaned and rinsed well
1 ounce dandelion leaves and stems, rinsed well
2/3 ounce fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch cardamom seeds, from a pod, crushed lightly
2 whole cloves
½ inch cinnamon bark
2 to 3 leaves fresh mint leaves (they sprout the same time of year as dandies)
2 cups boiling water
Chop all ingredients into pieces small enough to fit in a tea ball infuser. Set tea ball into a cup. Pour over with boiling water and let steep. Makes 2 servings.