Recipe: Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries

Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries

Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries

Well, I’ve completely lost it.  I’ve now started pulling weeds out of my back yard and cooking tasty gourmet treats out of them.  What the heck?  Have I lost it?  Or have I stumbled upon a free, readily accessible, wild gourmet edible chalked full of vitamins A, C, and K, full of calcium, and a bit of protein?  That’s right folks, the noxious weed we all dump poison on every year to have an unadulterated lawn is actually tasty and good for us.

I’ve actually been wanting to try this for several years, but finally built up the courage to do it.  I’ve eaten dandelion greens for years in gourmet lettuce blends, but never pulled my own at home.  What a shame that I didn’t before now.  They are actually pretty good, and I recommend trying them.

I’ve read numerous cookbooks, food magazines, and online recipe blogs talking about dandelions.  There are several recipes for them out there, and I pulled the best of those I found to create this delicious and unique side dish, which would be perfect along side wild game.  My freezer is currently out of elk and venison though, so I settled for chicken, which worked as well.

Can I Eat Dandelions Out of My Yard?

Yes!  Just make sure that you choose some that haven’t been treated with any chemicals.  And make sure to only eat the fresh young plants in early Spring.  Young are good, old are bad.

As the dandelion plant matures and starts to form flower buds, a white milky “blood” permeates the stems and stalks.  This milky liquid is extremely bitter; to the point of not being able to eat it.  But before the flowers start to grow, the leaves don’t have this crap in them and taste clean and almost grass-like…..similar to spinach.  They still have a hint of bitter to them, but aren’t any more bitter than other bitter greens (such as radicchio, endive, collards, etc.).  But I’ve recently read a few interesting culinary uses for the flowers as well, so I plan to try them out and do a post about them as well.  Stay tuned.

How to Prepare Dandelion Greens for Cooking

If there’s anything difficult about cooking dandelion greens, it has to be washing the filthy little buggers.  The stems seem to be magnets for lawn dirt, and the base of the leaves are often riddled with bugs.  No worries though.  Just fill your sink up with water and dump them in.  Separate the base into smaller pieces (you will see there are separate main stalks that come off the root base).  Then with some scissors/shears, simply cut the leaves off about an inch or so up from the base.  Toss the base, and wash the leaves thoroughly.  I recommend washing them a couple times to make sure you get everything off of them, including pesky pieces of dead grass.  Dry in a colander, and you’re ready to go.

Wash Dandelion Greens in Colander

Wash Dandelion Greens in Colander

Once washed, simply place the dandelion leaves on a cutting board, roll into a bundle with your hands, and cut into 2-inch pieces with a sharp knife.

Cut Dandelion Greens into 2 Inch Pieces

Cut Dandelion Greens into 2 Inch Pieces

Cut Dandelion Greens

Cut Dandelion Greens

Cut Dandelion Greens on Wood Cutting Board

Cut Dandelion Greens on Wood Cutting Board

You can now uses the washed and prepared greens in fresh salads, mixed in with pasta, or saute them like in this recipe.  They actually are worth eating, so enjoy!

Recipe for Sauteed Dandelion Greens

  • 1 pound washed dandelion greens, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, cut in half
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

How to Cook Delicious Sauteed Dandelion Greens

First, start by toasting your pine nuts.  To do this, place a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-heat until hot.  Add the pine nuts to the pan, and dry saute for several minutes until toasted and golden in color.  Remember to swirl the pan and flip the pine nuts over often so that they don’t burn and so that they color evenly.  Then remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.

Toasting Pine Nuts in Cast Iron Skillet

Toasting Pine Nuts in Cast Iron Skillet

Return the pan to the heat and melt the bacon fat.  Add the dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper.  Allow the greens to begin to wilt, cooking uncovered, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that they wilt evenly.

Saute Dandelion Greens in Cast Iron Skillet

Saute Dandelion Greens in Cast Iron Skillet

Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, again stirring once in a while so that the garlic cooks evenly.  Add cherries, water, and lemon juice, and cook for a few more minutes until the cherries are soft and the water is absorbed.  Toss with the pine nuts and serve hot.

Serves 3

Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries Close Up

Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries Close Up

Recipe by Jothan Yeager, April 7, 2013

 

The Bald Gourmet goes foraging in his back yard to cook up some tasty wild dandelion greens with pine nuts and dried cherries.

 

Recipe: Dandelion Greens with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries
 
Cook time

Total time

 

I’ve read numerous cookbooks, food magazines, and online recipe blogs talking about dandelions. There are several recipes for them out there, and I pulled the best of those I found to create this delicious and unique side dish, which is perfect along side wild game.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Servings: 3

Ingredients
  • 1 pound washed dandelion greens, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced and chopped
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, cut in half
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions
  1. First, start by toasting your pine nuts. To do this, place a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-heat until hot. Add the pine nuts to the pan, and dry saute for several minutes until toasted and golden in color. Remember to swirl the pan and flip the pine nuts over often so that they don’t burn and so that they color evenly. Then remove the pine nuts from the pan and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to the heat and melt the bacon fat. Add the dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper. Allow the greens to begin to wilt, cooking uncovered, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that they wilt evenly.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, again stirring once in a while so that the garlic cooks evenly. Add cherries, water, and lemon juice, and cook for a few more minutes until the cherries are soft and the water is absorbed. Toss with the pine nuts and serve hot.

Notes
If there’s anything difficult about cooking dandelion greens, it has to be washing the filthy little buggers. The stems seem to be magnets for lawn dirt, and the base of the leaves are often riddled with bugs. No worries though. Just fill your sink up with water and dump them in. Separate the base into smaller pieces (you will see there are separate main stalks that come off the root base). Then with some scissors/shears, simply cut the leaves off about an inch or so up from the base. Toss the base, and wash the leaves thoroughly. I recommend washing them a couple times to make sure you get everything off of them, including pesky pieces of dead grass. Dry in a colander, and you’re ready to go.

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The Bald Gourmet Mug

I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.