Spring is finally here, and for about a week or two “wild dandelion” season. You need to pick them when they first appear in the ground and they are very young. Here is an easy recipe for preparing your own salad as long as you can get these greens from your yard, or somewhere else that weed killer hasn’t gotten rid of them. Of course I can’t give away where I get mine every year!
Here is how you can make your own wild dandelion salad:
First get your dandelion greens and soak them in cold water. I rinse them until all of the sand, dirt and leaves are gone. Jacques Pepin says that the roots are the best part because they are a sweet foil to the bitter greens, but they are hard to clean. You don’t have to use them but I like them so I use them.
Then you use a knife to get into the crevices. The root and leaves are all edible and taste great. You can in this picture why they are called dent-e-lions (dent=teeth, so lion’s teeth!) NB: Please take great care to meticulously clean these buggers. Even a small amount of sand is totally revolting in a salad.
Then as in so many Italian recipes you only need a few ingredients. You already have your greens, now all you need is a dressing. I like a simple lemon dressing made from fresh lemon juice, salt and extra virgin olive oil.
Here is the salad dressed and ready to eat. It is crunchy and slightly bitter and reminds me of the Roman puntarelle salad that I ate everyday when I was in Rome. Dandelions supposedly have medicinal properties that clean your blood, and who doesn’t need that!