Bitter dandelion greens are 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 the new Franny's cookbook. Miraculously, the runny yolk, salty-rich anchovy dressing, and curlicues of Parmesan managed to rein in the bitter green for a bold, bright salad.
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Broccoli and cauliflower are staple vegetables in my kitchen, so I assumed I'd eaten these brassica in just about every way possible. But Daniel Patterson's recipe for Grilled Brassica with Dandelion-Green Vinaigrette in Adam Roberts' Secrets of the Best Chefs proved me wrong. Patterson grills an assortment of brassica--including vibrant romanesco and leafy rape and cicco--until well-charred and tender. He plates the vegetables with plump bulgar wheat, a squeeze of lemon, and (best of all) a verdant, bitter dandelion vinaigrette.
Once I brought the beets and chard home I turned to the pages of Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse for a bit of inspiration. And what I found was this Roasted Beet Salad with Walnut Dressing and Cheese Crisps. Roasted beets? Yes, please. But raw chard? I had never used it in its raw state but the young chard that I brought home had much thinner, softer leaves that seemed like they would work beautifully in a salad.
Though I'm not as brave as some, apparently it's quite possible to walk outside and forage for dinner in just about anybody's front yard. That's right—dandelions are a perfectly suitable dinner.
Despite substantial evidence to the contrary on pesticide-treated suburban lawns nationwide, dandelion can be a healthful and delicious part of your springtime menu. This sweet, not-too-bitter salad is an easy place to start.