Sunday, March 20, 2011

Darling Dandelions - The Ultimate Spring Food !!

By Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM, L.Ac

The word dandelions tends to bring fear into the hearts of gardeners and homeowners alike. However, besides providing mini-bursts of sunshine on a lawn, dandelion greens are nutritional wonders. Like other leafy greens, dandelion greens are an excellent source of vitamins A and K. From blossom to root, dandelions are antioxidant powerhouses. In fact, traditional Chinese herbology views these plants as helpful to maintain breast health, not only for cancer prevention but for PMS related syndromes. In other cultures, dandelions are known for their liver cleansing properties, a wonderful spring ritual. My perspective is that if these plants are strong enough to survive most assignation attempts, imagine the energy they could impart to you!

Known for their distinct bitter quality the leaves of dandelions are best harvested from pesticide –free errors in the early spring. The grocery variety (an Italian chicory) is milder than the more mineral-rich garden weed. Either way, look for young, tender leaves.
Dandelion greens can be cooked similarly to kale  cooked with chopped onion, minced garlic, optional chili pepper, then topped with Parmesan cheese To tame the greens’ natural bitterness, cook them with dried fruit, toasted nuts, and olive or nut oil.
Here is  a 15-minute recipe:
Dandelion Greens with Currants and Pine Nuts
Serves 6
Ingredients:
·         About 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
·         1 garlic clove, finely chopped
·         1 lb. dandelion greens, ends trimmed, roughly chopped (about 2½ qts.)
·         1/8 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
·         3 tbsp. each dried currants and toasted pine nuts
·         Lemon wedges (optional)

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds.
2. Add dandelion greens in batches, turning frequently with tongs. Increase heat to medium-high, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, turning with tongs, until greens are wilted and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
3. Add currants and pine nuts and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with about 1 tbsp. more oil. Serve with a squeeze of lemon if you like.
Other serving options could include mixing the dandelion greens into a salad with apples and walnuts or integrating them into vegetarian lasagna.
Later in the season, dandelion flowers can be added to salads for a burst of color and Vitamin A as well as a great topic for conversation. Bon app├ętit!

4 comments:

body lift said...

Really great food for spring. I want to how it is looking. Really appreciable post this is!

Calotren said...

Great recipe. Thanks for sharing this post. I s'll try to make it. Keep it up.

kitchendove said...

dandelion is Queen of the weeds... everyone should learn about the great medicine she can bring...

varicose veins said...

Amazing spring food! It is really a wonderful post you are sharing with us.I really liked it very much.

Thanks!

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