Slivered Dandelion Greens with Chorizo

April 14th, 2008  |  Published in All, Dandelion Greens, Garlic, Onion, Succulent Spices, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  15 Comments

Slivered Dandelion Greens with Chorizo

Slivered Dandelion Greens with Chorizo

1 bunch of dandelion greens, any unappetizing-looking stalks removed (or substitute collard greens)
~ 1T. olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 – 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, to taste
4 oz of dry chorizo, cut into small pieces

Stack the dandelion greens and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch ribbons.
Heat olive oil in a skillet or chef’s pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add dandelion greens and saute for 2-3 minutes, until greens are wilted. Stir in red pepper flakes and chorizo and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Enjoy!

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Whether foraged from the backyard or purchased at the farmer’s market, dandelion greens occupy a special place in my heart during the spring. Their bitter bite enlivens my palate and makes sweetness even sweeter. Dandelion greens rarely slink quietly into the background as spinach or swiss chard sometimes does — they announces their presence with bravado and flair — love them or hate them, dandelions are one of spring’s most unique offerings.

I purchased this bunch of dandelion greens from the High Ground Organics stand at the Mountain View Farmer’s market this past weekend. These, along with some strawberries, young fava beans, fresh eggs, and green garlic were the finds of the day. Wandering through the market I felt both peaceful and at ease, grateful to live in such a bountiful food shed, and also happy to be supporting my local economy.

Such is not the case as of late in other parts of the world. In Egypt, Bangladesh, and Haiti (and other places too), people are rioting due to the skyrocketing cost of food staples — rice and wheat in particular — due much in part to the export of commodity crops for consumption in the western world. In the past year alone the price of wheat has risen 120%, and in the past TWO MONTHS, the price of rice has risen 70%. According to this CNN article, a 2-kilo bag of rice in Bangladesh now consumes half the daily income of a poor family. Really, just TRY to imagine that — imagine that your food needs for the day cost HALF of your salary — take your yearly salary, drop the ‘thousands’, and divide in half; this is roughly your ‘hourly’ rate; now multiply that times 4, and that is how much a bag of rice would cost you — imagine a five pound bag of rice that costs $50 or $100 or $200. It is, of course, impossible to make an apples to apples comparison here, but I still find this little exercise very alarming.

But what can I do? My answer to this is to opt out of the broken, industrial food and energy system of America. Small actions like buying locally, using less fuel (ride a bike, ride a motorcycle instead of a car, buy a hybrid, convert your diesel car to run on vegetable oil), eating less meat, eating less processed food, and even simply becoming more informed can all make a difference. By simply being mindful of your consumption and of the waste you produce, it is possible to become much more aware of how connected we all are.

One of the things I mentioned above was the idea of eating less meat — many of us are quite used to having meat at every meal and also that it is the centerpiece of the plate. This recipe highlights the idea that meat need not be the centerpiece of a meal — a few small bites of potent, garlicky chorizo add a lot of flavor to this dish (and satisfy my carnivorous partner’s desire for daily meat). Alongside the dandelion greens I served a hearty portion of skillet roasted celeraic and potatoes (recipe to follow soon), a sectioned cara-cara orange, and a glass of Spanish Rioja for a satisfying meal (with only about 1 oz of meat per person). (Also note, the dandelion greens wouldn’t suffer if you omitted the chorizo — just add a little extra oil, garlic, and pepper flakes for some additional kick — a lovely vegan side dish, in my opinion).

I would love to hear what YOU think about the global food shortages, and also what you think the role of meat is in our diets — are you vegetarian? vegan? complete carnivore? ethical omnivore?

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