Dandelion and Violet Salad

April 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

I love the idea of foraging for a meal. My grandmother went foraging all the time in the German forests and fields with my mother. They would gather all types of mushrooms, wild herbs, plants, and of course dandelions.

Now that spring is here the dandelions are popping up everywhere in my fields. I get my basket and scissors and go out to the meadow and see what I can find.

Dandelions have a bitter taste, somewhat like escarole, and I must admit I’m not a huge fan, but nutritionally they’re packed with vitamins so I just add some to a salad.

As I was coming in with my basket of dandelions I spotted the violets. Violet flowers are edible, sweet almost, and contain a good amount of Vit C and A, as well as antioxidants.

And that  beautiful, bright purple color is simply gorgeous on top of the greens.

So here we go:

Salad:

About 3 cups of lettuce, I used romaine since it was all I had on hand.

One good handful dandelion leaves (try and pick the small young leaves, the larger the more bitter they tend to get) Cut out any tough stems. Make sure to wash well.

1 stalk celery, cut into small pieces, about 1/2 in

4 slices bacon, chop it up

Red onion ( I used a few very thin slices) you can add as much or as little as you like

Dressing:

Drippings from the bacon (you should have about 3 Tablespoons, if you don’t add some olive oil to make that amount)

1 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

First, saute your bacon and celery in a skillet until the bacon is crisp. The celery still had a bit of crunch when the bacon was done which is what I was looking for. Remove bacon and celery from the pan and put into a salad bowl. Save your drippings for the dressing.

While you’re making the rest of the salad, cut your red onion into very thin slices and pour the vinegar over them. This will soften the onion taste a bit.

Chop your lettuce into long strips. Easy to do, just roll it up like a log and slice. Put into your bowl with the bacon and celery. Add the dandelion leaves.

Remove the onion from the vinegar and add to the salad bowl.

To Assemble:

Make sure the drippings are hot, and then whisk together with the red wine vinegar.

Toss all together, put on a serving plate, taste and maybe add a small sprinkling of sea salt and pepper.

And then on go the violet flowers!

 

 

Dandelions are an amazing little plant! Most people think of them as a weed, but they deserve a closer look.

They are very high in beta-carotene, Vit A, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins. They’re also a good source of protein. Good to  juice and you can make tea out of them too.

And if you don’t find them growing nearby (make sure they’re not polluted in any way) they’re sold in health food stores and supermarkets now too.

Makes 2 servings

                                                                            illustration by me

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