May 16, 2012
As a child, I remember getting the yellow pollen all over my hands as the local neighbourhood gang and I would collect them for various reasons. Perhaps it was as a collection of flowers to give to a mom, a pretend food storage, or to build a massive dandelion tower. Even with all the flowery fun, dandelions were still weeds.
Dandelion recipes have been cropping up more and more these days. I've seen recipes for dandelion tea, dandelion burgers, dandelion wine... bizarre.
But as a good food blogger, I felt that it was my duty to go and give it a try. I'm just glad that I don't own a dog...
I won't lie. I was nervous. I mean, this is a weed! It's been sitting in my backyard for years! People trample all over them, pesticides get sprayed about. And good lord... what about the bugs!! I wondered how my stomach would handle it, being prepared to make a sandwich immediately after, just in case I was completely repulsed by the leaves. I worried about my tongue! What if it tasted gross?
Just power through Jeff! You can do this!
Crazy mind... it doesn't know what it's talking about. I could get seriously ill off of this!
But no... that doesn't make sense either. I mean, I have a garden out back with onions and cucumbers and I've never gotten sick from those. So I marched outside to an area seldom travelled and with some of the more beautiful specimens of dandelions and picked a few good handfuls.
I made the salad with the end of my blackberries and some local goat feta cheese (made in Nobleford fellow South Albertans! You can get it at the Creative Cleaver in Lethbridge). I made a really simple dressing featuring some green onions that survived the winter and poked their heads up again this spring. Does that count as foraging?
So that's the process. The result? Mind over matter right? Dandelion leaves are bitter, chewy and not as "refreshing" as lettuce. I felt like a cow chewing it's cud going over this salad. The first couple bites I wasn't very impressed, but for some reason, bite after bite started to disappear. Was it amazing? No, I wouldn't give it that, but it definitely wasn't worth the horror.
...but after an hour or so, I found myself already wishing that I had another dandelion salad to munch on. So maybe it wasn't that bad at all, and my mind is already making the conversion from weed to delicacy. Have you ever tried dandelions? What are your thoughts?
Dandelion Greens - about 1 handful, torn into bite sized pieces
Blackberries - handful
Goat Feta (or other feta) - 1/4 cup, cubed
*I should have added nuts, like almonds or pine nuts, maybe next time
Olive Oil (I used a fancy lemon and sundied tomato version) - 1/2 cup
Red Wine Vinegar - 1/4 cup
Green Onion - 2 stalks, finely chopped
Salt - a healthy pinch
Pepper - a healthy pinch
Basil - a healthy pinch
Honey - 1/2 tbsp
*The dressing recipe makes a lot, but it also keeps for awhile in a sealed container in the fridge.
Combine all the dressing ingredients together and stir until well combined.
Wash the dandelion greens and blackberries. Combine in a salad bowl, then add the feta. Drizzle on the dressing and enjoy!