The dandelion (taraxacum officinale) is a flowering plant, sometimes referred to as the king of weeds. It grows wild through out the world. Dandelions might possibly be native to Europe, North Africa, Northern Asia, and North America.
The word dandelion comes from the French words dent de lion, which refers to its pointed leaves. (Lion's tooth). It was named by a surgeon in the 15th century. According to legend, dandelion never grows where there are no human inhabitants. The early pioneers found no trace of them in western America on their arrival, but after a few years, up sprang a dandelion head and soon there were millions of them. Native Americans learned to love them and would walk miles to gather them.
The dandelion is a perennial plant. It has triangular shaped leaves that are jagged. It produces bright yellow flowers. When the dandelions flowers die, they create a whitish mound of fluff, the is meant to be blown away by the wind to spread it’s seeds.
The dandelion is most commonly eaten like spinach. It is consumed both raw and cooked. The leaves are bitter and tangy. It is best before it flowers. The roots of the plant are also eaten. They are roasted and ground to make root coffee.
The dandelion supposively has diuretic properties. It is low in calories, and contains iron, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin, magnesium, folic acid, copper and Vitamins A, B12, and C. Dandelion is a tonic, decongestant, aids in appetite, counteracts scurvy, and cleanses the system.
Flavors for Dandelion Greens
hard boiled egg
vinegar, esp. red wine
Dandelion Greens with Spicy Vinaigrette
1 lb. young dandelion greens
1 vidalia onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 dashes hot pepper sauce, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash greens. Discard any discolored or fibrous ones and tear into bite sized pieces. Spin dry and place with onion in non-reactive bowl.
Combine remaining ingredients in small jar, cover, and shake well to combine thoroughly. Adjust seasonings, pour over over greens, toss and serve immediately.
Radish, Fennel, and Dandelion Salad
2 bunches young dandelion greens
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
white wine vinegar
2 bulbs fennel
1 small bunch red radishes
Wash and spin drip the dandelion greens; refrigerate. Peel a few strips of zest from the lemon and chop very finely to make about 1/2 tsp. Juice the lemon; there should be about 1/4 cup.
Peel and chop the shallots very fine, put them in a salad bowl, cover with the lemon juice and zest, and macerate for about 20 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of vinegar.
Trim the tops and root ends of the fennel and remove the outer layer and any bruised or damaged parts. Slice it very thin, about 1/8” with a knife or on a mandolin. Wash the radishes, leaving the tops on if they are delicate, and cut the radishes into rounds on a mandolin.
Just before serving, toss all ingredients with enough dressing just to coat them. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately. Serves 6.
© 2014 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
cite me: Denlinger, J. (2014, August 28). Dandelion Greens. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net