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Dandelion Greens

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

So. .. I just tried making Italian style greens (olive oil, garlic, parm. cheese) with dandelion greens.

 

They came out ok, but very bitter.

 

Does anyone here have experience cooking with them? Is there a way to make them less bitter? Or a better application than straight saute?

 

Thanks!

 

-Nate

post #2 of 14

Dandelions are a bitter green, and are mostly used for that purpose.

 

You can reduce the bitterness, somewhat, by blanching them. But if you're not looking for so much bitterness sub all or part of them with a different green.

 

Use caution in the amont of them you eat, however. Dandelions are a diuretic, and, for some people act as a laxative as well. That's one of the reasons they are often used as a spring tonic.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 14

Not to be Captain Obvious or anything. Add something sweet. I would suggest a reduced balsamic vinegar and/or some caramelized shallots.

post #4 of 14

It's really not the best time to eat them. Pick the smaller leaves without flowers.

Fall leaves are way less bitter. Right after the first light snow.

pan

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #5 of 14

Ah bitterness.  The likes of which has been kicked to the curb even by foodies.  Our sense of enjoyment for bitterness has been replaced by our sweet tooth, made possible by the vast amounts of salt and sugar added to just about everything we consume nowadays.  If we look back to a simpler time we'll see that bitterness played a key role in lots of the foods that our grandparents used to eat.  I wish we could learn to enjoy bitterness as a society again.

 

Dandelions are a staple of greek cuisine.  We tend to eat them very simply by boiling them, and then dressing them like a salad with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  They are often used in dishes as well, in one of my favorite veggie stews made with potatoes, olive oil, onnions, garlic, tomato, and zucchini.  Once the stew is all cooked drop enough raw dandelions to cover everything completely and let them steeam in there for at least 10-15 minutes or until tender.  Then stir them through.  The onions and tomatoes sweeten them up nicely.

 

Your method is great too, but try blanching them first.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 14

Bitter food in general (beer,red wine, coffee, cranberries, artichokes, dark chocolate, etc) work well with very rich food and help to cut the richness.

post #7 of 14

I've never cooked dandelions. I render some bacon and soft boil some eggs, make a vinaigrette with the rendered bacon fat, and some minced shallots steeped in red wine vinegar, toss the (raw) dandelions with the vinaigrette, sprinkle with the diced bacon and the eggs. 

 

Sometimes I don't have eggs, and other times I don't have bacon, but I usually like to have at least one or the other, preferably the bacon at least. Without either it's just bitter-fest. 

post #8 of 14

My absolute favorite for dandelions is to pick them young (slightly less bitter) and then use them as a salad, with simply oil and vinegar, and lots of bread.  It is one of the most delicious salads, and very good after a heavy meal.  I remember eating it AS a meal, with plenty of fresh italian bread to dunk in the oil and vinegar that remains at the bottom of the bowl. 

 

They are actually far less bitter than chicory, which is very popular in Italy - either boiled and dressed with oil and lemon as Koukouvagia says, or passed in the frying pan with sauteed garlic - if you get it here you get cicoria all'agro or cicoria ripassata (chee-KO-ree-ah ahl AH-groh ---ree-pahs-SAH-tah)

I find chicory a little too bitter for me, but i love the slightly bitterness of dandelion.  Never had dandelion cooked, though.

 

The older and larger the leaves, the more bitter it is. 

 

A strong memory of my childhood is older italian women with a small knife picking the dandelions from the lawns, putting them in their apron that they hitched up to make a sort of sack.  This was in the states.  You might still see this here in italy in the country. 

Unfortunately with the level of pollution in Rome i don;t really trust the dandelions i could find here in parks and along the roads.  Only recently was unleaded gasoline introduced. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 14

I had fresh pissenlits in a saladmix a few times in France. Delicious. (.. en..lit means; in bed)

Recently also found a recipe for dandilion pesto I have to try out. I would have to pick them from a meadow as they aren't offered here in stores.

 

BTW, last year I made jam from dandilion flowers. They are extremely bitter in water solution but loose all their bitterness once cooked in sugar. This is another french speciality called cramaillotte.

post #10 of 14

I'm with French Fries....pissenlits (pee in bed).....up to 4" greens, poached eggs, bacon, shallot tarragon viniagrette and I add roasted fingerling potatoes.....one of my fav salads....if you can find dandilion greens it's just that much better.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone! I did consider doing a sugary vinaigrette reduction with them, but got lazy. I made home made ravioli with the meal, and as I'm sure most of you know, they are mega time-intensive especially without a pasta machine!

post #12 of 14

Dandelion leaves make a great salad!

 

The new leaves in the spring are great, Just coat them FIRST with EVOO - then salt and fresh ground pepper*** - and vinegar of choice. I really don't add anything else - maybe sometimes a handful of ground or flaked parmesan.

 

*** And a bit oof sugar to taste - one gets used to the bitterness (it varies with leaves and sub-species of dandelion ) - and amount will vary. Actually the bitterness becomes addictive 

 

There are usually several sub-species in same locale - round ones - pointy ones - etc. They do taste slightly differently - especially regarding 'bitterness.'

 

No knives needed - just clip with thumb and index finger - the root stays for second crop later.

 

I have a whole 5000 sq ft 'lawn' devoted to them - the first spring crop produces the seeds which them keep producing new young plants all summer and fall.

 

The second crop doesn't seem to produce any flowers - but give a really fine opportunity to gather tons of fresh new leaves - many more than the spring batch.

 

Rinse with plenty of cold water - cut, washed leaves keep beautifully in fridge - far longer and better than most lettuces.

 

-------------

 

PS - Coating FIRST with the EVOO keeps the vinegar from getting into the cell structure - keeps texture fresher and crisper - also keeps the vinegar from getting 'in there' and being 'too much.'  This 'coating technique' suggested for many salads.


Edited by Harry Coates - 12/30/14 at 5:33am
post #13 of 14

I welcome the bitterness and mix it with sweet lettuces from my garden patch.

post #14 of 14

If you want cooked greens, not bitter, try kale, collards, or mustards.  Saute or simmer for 10-15 minutes, (cooked faster, they have too much punch).  I like mine with a little apple cider vinegar or Sriracha Sauce.

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