I love dandelions. There is nothing special about them – they are everywhere, and yet, they are magical. They start off as a humble, low-to-the-ground plant and then they pop up the most exuberant golden flowers, like miniature suns, with a thousand tiny soft petals that make a powderpuff that tints your cheeks and lips with saffron. The flowers change from sun to moon. They close, then reopen as pale globes of white fluffy seeds – and with a puff of wind, the seeds scatter, float, fly away…
The leaves are delicious when they are young. I love to cook bacon and then add the leaves last minute to the hot oil to wilt, then serve them as a warm salad with the bacon crumbled over, and a bit of goat cheese. I’ve even run out to get the leaves when I forgot to buy salad for my tacos! The roots are edible too – and so are the flowers.
One year, my parents made dandelion wine. I have heard of dandelion tea,thought I’ve never tried it. Supposedly if you are allergic to chamomile you should avoid dandelions. The french call it “pissenlit”, which actually means “wet the bed” because its root is a diuretic.
Here is a quick dandelion salad recipe:
Three or four slices thick bacon, three or four handfuls of clean, young dandelion leaves, a shallot, red wine vinegar, olive oil, 2 eggs, half a French baguette, split and toasted.
Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside. Toss out all but one tablespoon of bacon grease. In the hot bacon grease, add the diced shallot and the dandelion leaves, give a quick stir to wilt then set aside on paper towel. Deglaze the pan with vinegar, then add a tablespoon of oil. Set aside. Meanwhile, poach the two eggs.
Put the toasted bread on a plate, cover with bacon and dandelion greens, top with a poached egg. Drizzle with the hot vinegar mix. Add pepper to taste.