Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nature Notes: How to Eat a Lion

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OK, gang, this is Bucket List Thing number two, in which I make good on my annual threat to forage for food. (Why ask why.)

First item on the menu is dandelion because it's at its peak now and, unlike mushrooms or tree catkins, there's no possible way to misidentify the edible ones. And, unlike poke weed, there is no way to cook it that will result in death.

The roots, leaves and flowers are powerhouses of nutritional goodies, and the web is teeming with recipes. You can toss the leaves in salad or cook them as greens. Salad is going to happen once the family gets used to the idea. So here's plan A: Dandelion Greens in Cream With Bacon. My family would eat puppy poop with cream and bacon. After that it shouldn't be an issue if they recognize weeds in their salad bowls.

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Dandelion Greens in Cream With Bacon
From: Edible Michiana


Serves 4 to 6 as a side. This dish pairs well with simple roast chicken and some crusty bread.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
¾ teaspoon salt
1 bunch dandelion greens (about 7 cups) washed and chopped*
1½ cups heavy cream
4 slices bacon, cooked and sliced into small pieces
⅛ teaspoon curry powder
Lemon juice

In a heavy pan with a lid, melt butter. Add onions and salt; cover. Cook the onions on low heat for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring regularly. The onions should not be overly brown and will become soft and sweet.

Prepare an ice bath for the dandelion greens. Fill a medium-sized bowl with water and ice. In a saucepan, boil water and add the dandelion greens. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until dark green. Take the greens out of the water and place them in the ice water. Drain the greens with a colander, squeeze out the excess water and set them aside.

Remove the onions from the pan. Add the heavy cream and reduce by a third over medium heat. Add the onions and dandelion greens to the cream. Continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bacon, curry powder, a few drops of lemon juice and more salt, if desired.

* Dandelions greens can be foraged or found your farmers market or local grocery. If harvesting wild greens, make sure to avoid areas sprayed with herbicides or pesticides. Wild greens are most tender early in the spring.

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We have an abundance of dandelions, which we control solely by relentless mowing in spring. No chemicals, no lawn fertilizer. (And by "we" I actually mean my hyperactive husband.) As soon as the rain stops here I'll be out harvesting greens. I'll let you know how it goes.

Related Posts: Pretty Poison, on pokeweed; Chicken of the Woods and Shrooms! for mushrooms and morels; Mystery Solved! on ramsons; This Ain't Your Daddy's Grey Poupon on garlic mustard.




Click here to visit Michelle's site, Rambling Woods, and see more Nature Notes

9 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Interesting post and recipe! I am not so sure if I could try them though.

Leora said...

I can't say I've eaten a dandelion. I do grow nasturtium specifically so I can eat them.

bettyl said...

Good luck with that! I admire your progress on your bucket list!

Carver said...

Beautiful shot of the dandelion. I haven't eaten them.

Daryl said...

i have eaten nasturtiums tossed into a delicious salad made with field greens .. so i think a 'lion would be delish

Rambling Woods said...

I have eaten dandelions and I like them. If I weren't surrounded by so much lawn chemicals, I would try all the ones we have, but the pollinators love them. Thank you for linking in Vicki and for the support.. Michelle

EG CameraGirl said...

I've made dandelion jelly with the blossoms. It tastes a lot like honey. Hope you enjoy the dandelion greens!

Debbie said...

oohhhhh i had no idea!! pretty image, they are lovely close up!!

Arija said...

and you can make the most wonderful liqueur from the flowers. My aunt used to make it, it was like the nectar of the gods.