The name dandelion comes from the French “Dente de Lyon” or “Lion’s tooth”, so named because of their jagged tooth-like appearance.
Spring is the best time to pick dandelions to be eaten raw in salads. They tend to have a milder flavor when the weather is cooler, but find them in a shady corner of the yard or garden and they can remain tender throughout the summer.
Remember: never pick dandelions in an area that has been treated with chemicals. And make sure you wash your greens well in room temperature water with a spoonful of white vinegar. This helps get the dirt off and critters out.
I like the raw greens tossed in walnut oil or warm bacon drippings with some mild vinegar and a poached or fried egg on top. Once the summer heat hits, these greens really do have a lion’s bite. These more mature greens tend to be bitter and should be blanched and cooked.
I like these summer dandelions cooked down with local ham and some fresh lemon. The acid, smoky, fatty flavors enrobe the bitterness and carry it away to the back of the palette. They can also be chopped and tossed in soups and vegetables side dishes giving sweeter ingredients like peas their complex bitterness.
Not only are the greens a treat, but the flower buds are great in stir-fries and the fresh, bright yellow blooms may be battered and fried.
- 1 gallon dandelion greens - washed well and spun dry
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion - sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 pound local Italian sausage â cut into bite sized pieces
- 6 small red potatoes, diced
- 2 cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 4 tablespoons vinegar
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- optional: hot sauce or chili flakes, butter
- Roughly cut dandelion greens in 3 inch pieces.
- Pre-heat a heavy bottomed stainless steel pot over medium heat and add oil, onions, garlic and sausage. Cook until lightly brown.
- Place dandelion greens on top of sausage mixture and add water or stock.
- Top with potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes until greens and potatoes are tender.
- Remove cover and reduce the liquids down by half. This nectar my Grampa called pot liquor.
- Add 4 tablespoons of vinegar (and a little butter if desired) and season to taste with salt and pepper.