A few weeks ago, my husband and I headed to Highland Park. Noticing all the dandelions around us, we started talking about how Fran’s Father and my friend Jackie’s great grandmother would cook dandelions, foraging for them back in the day. Our nature-inspired conversation got us both thinking the same thing… lets collect dandelions and eat them!! Seemed like a perfect activity after a long walk, and we were getting pretty hungry!
We started foraging – mostly we found them on Cypress Ave by the New Union Field Cemetery.
Cleaning city grown dandelions is not easy, we had to wash the leaves several times and then we dried them in the sun.
I texted Jackie to ask if she remembered her great grandmother’s recipe. She told me the recipe is a simple sauté with oil, garlic, salt/pepper, and some lemon juice. Her grandmother would make homemade croutons with day old bread and add that to her dandelion sauté once it was ready to serve.
Finally, the dandelions were ready to cook! I used all the ingredients I mentioned above and added some red wine for the hell of it!
15 minutes later, we tasted. The verdict…
It tasted really bad. We were so disappointed. The flavor was terribly bitter and the texture was tough. If I had to compare it to something familiar, I would say Broccoli rabe (but in a bad way). When I decided I couldn’t take one more bite, I googled “dandelions saute”. It turns out that young dandelions sprouts are best to use. When choosing ours we thought, the bigger the better. Big mistake.
I haven’t given up on dandelions. With this new information about early sprouts, I think I can make it work! Stay tuned…