Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Pecans

February 11th, 2008  |  Published in All, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Nuanced Nuts, Pecans, Shallots, Succulent Spices, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  5 Comments

Dandelion Greens Salad

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Pecans

1 bunch dandelion greens, center ribs removed if large
1/4 c. pecans
2.5 T olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot, minced (optional)
2 T apple cider vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Coarsely chop dandelion greens and place in a serving bowl.

Toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan and coarsely chop.

Heat oil in skillet. Once it’s hot, add garlic and shallots (if using) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add pecans and stir to coat. Remove skillet from heat and add apple cider vinegar. Mix dressing, then pour over dandelion greens, along with a generous pinch of both salt and pepper, then toss to coat. The hot vinaigrette will slightly wilt the greens. Enjoy!

To make this into a main dish, simply add a sliced hard-cooked egg on top of the dandelion salad. Serve with some good crusty bread, a small bowl of soup or other side dish, and a glass of white wine for a light meal. (Shown below with Ever-So-Slightly-Sweet Mashed Turnips)

Dandelion Salad topped with Hard Cooked Egg

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A new twist on an old saying — one woman’s weed is another woman’s dinner.

It’s true, I really enjoy eating a few plants that are typically thought of as weeds — dandelion greens, sorrel, purslane, and mint, to name a few. Though sorrel is probably my favorite of the ‘weeds’, dandelion greens are a close second. They have a lot of body — more than spinach, less than chard — and have a pleasant bitterness to them, a little like chicory.

Sometimes dandelion greens are cooked like traditional southern collard greens — long and slow with plenty of bacon and onion. This method reduces the bitterness of the greens substantially, and is one of many delicious ways to prepare dandelion. A favorite method of mine is quite the opposite to this long, slow simmer — the greens are served almost raw, wilted only by a hot vinaigrette. When you’ve only got a few minutes, or you want to highlight the bitter character of the greens, this is a great way to go.

Bitter greens are a bit of an acquired taste, but once acquired, it’s hard to imagine the culinary world without them. Just as it’s hard to know happiness without knowing sorrow, it’s hard to know sweetness without exploring bitterness. Plus, broadening your palette is rarely a bad thing.

Dandelion greens are often available at the farmer’s market, and they’re showing up more and more in natural foods stores and boutique groceries. It’s also possible to forage for your own dandelion greens, BUT BE CAREFUL, since dandelions are often sprayed with toxic weed killers etc. Unless you can guarantee the plants haven’t been sprayed, I’d recommend leaving them alone and going for cultivated dandelion from the market.

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