Dandelion Greens with a Fried Egg, Croutons, and Anchovy Dressing from 'Franny's'

[Photograph: John von Pamer]

A salad of whole dandelion greens sounds like a recipe for a bitter experience. The astringent green is often too strong to eat raw—at least without some tamer leaves for balance. So I was curious how I'd like this dandelion Caesar from Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark's new Franny's cookbook. Miraculously, the runny yolk, salty-rich anchovy dressing, and curlicues of Parmesan managed to rein in the bitter green. In fact, I came to enjoy its bite alongside so many other assertive ingredients, and I'll probably use it in more salads to come.

Why I picked this recipe: I'm a sucker for Caesars and was curious if pugnacious dandelion greens could be tamed by this treatment.

What worked: This salad was a total surprise. Full of contrasting bold ingredients, the elements all come together when the fried egg yolk is burst upon serving.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: While this recipe is designed to counter the bitterness of the dandelion greens, you still want to make sure you're using relatively mild ones. If you can try the leaves before you buy, do so, or else look for bunches with smaller leaves. You can also subsitute escarole, frisée, chicory, or Treviso radicchio.

Reprinted with permission from Franny's: Simple seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark. Copyright 2013. Published by Artisan. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

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Dandelion Greens with a Fried Egg, Croutons, and Anchovy Dressing from 'Franny's'

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Dandelion Greens with a Fried Egg, Croutons, and Anchovy Dressing from 'Franny's'

Ingredients

  • Croutons
  • 3 cups torn chunks crusty bread (about 5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  •  
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 anchovies, mashed to a paste (1 teaspoon)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 cups dandelion greens
  • Coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Procedures

  1. 1

    To make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°F, with a rack positioned in the middle. Toss the bread with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast until the croutons are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

  2. 2

    Using a mortar and pestle or the side of a large knife, mash the garlic into a paste with a pinch of salt. Transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, anchovy, and salt. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

  3. 3

    In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Crack the eggs into the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the eggs until the whites are just set, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  4. 4

    In a large bowl, toss the greens and croutons with the dressing. Divide the salad among six serving plates. Top each with an egg and garnish with grated cheese.

  5. 5

    Andrew's Note: Always taste dandelion greens before buying them; sometimes they can be too bitter. Just tear off a tiny piece of a leaf (most vendors at the farmers’ market will let you do this) and take a bite. The greens should have a hint of bitterness, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.

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