What a nice surprise to find dandelion greens at the greengrocer – a sure sign of spring! In Italy, dandelion is considered a spring tonic for its diuretic and purgative action. After a winter of heavy foods, the slightly bitter taste is most satisfying and refreshing. Lucky are those who can soon dig them in their backyards.
Prepare them by first soaking them in cold water, then pick them over carefully, cutting the leaves off the root, discarding the flower, discolored ends and stems. Drain and remove as much water as possible in a salad spinner.
Use them in a salad or blanch them in boiling water and saute them in olive oil with hot pepper flakes. Sauteed dandelion greens are delicious, simply served with boiled potatoes. In the South of Italy they are a popular snack when made into a stuffed focaccia, a cross between a calzone and a focaccia. Coarsely chop the greens, saute in olive oil, and add pitted black olives, capers and anchovies. Spread the filling onto a disk of rolled out pizza dough, fold the disk in half over the filling, seal the edges with the tines of a fork or your fingertips. Prick a few holes over the top of the surface and bake for about 30 minutes (450°F) until the top is golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.
- dandelion greens, picked over and washed very well, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
- sweet onion, sliced
- anchovies under oil
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- S & P
Place the dandelion greens, onions and anchovies in a salad bowl. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss, taste and correct seasonings.
Fresh dandelion greens can be found in the North End :
Alba Produce, 18 Parmenter St., Boston