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Just Dandy

March 28, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

Spring is here, and soon enough we’ll have warm weather (hopefully), birds, flowers…and weeds. Many a homeowner is probably now surveying their yard and thinking of ways to battle the most common lawn scourge, the dandelion. But before you stock up on weed killers, you may want to consider this: dandelions are edible, delicious, and seriously good for you. If you’re still not willing to give your yard over to these weedy nutritional powerhouses, dandelion can be purchased cheaply in many stores (I found a big bag of the leaves for less than $1 at the Asian supermarket in Plainsboro).

Dandelion leaves can be treated like any dark leafy green and can even be eaten raw as a salad, but if you’re not a fan of bitter flavors, you may want to boil them first. The flowers, which are loaded with vitamin C, can also be used to add color to salads, and even the roots can be roasted and brewed as a coffee substitute. The only part of the plant that’s not edible is the flower stem, which secretes a very bitter, milky substance. Make sure you thoroughly rinse all parts of the dandelion before cooking with them.

 

Basic Dandelion Greens

Serves 2

3 cups dandelion greens*, chopped into manageable pieces, if they’re very large

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the greens and boil for about 7-10 minutes to remove some of the bitterness (if the greens are very young, you may not need to boil them at all. Try them first, and if they’re too bitter for your taste, go ahead and boil them for 5-7 minutes). Drain thoroughly and squeeze lightly to remove extra water.

Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until it begins to get fragrant. Add the greens and toss until combined with oil and garlic. Add red pepper flakes, if using, and serve as a side dish.

 

*If you treat your lawn with any sort of chemicals, don’t eat any dandelion greens you may find there.

 

Poached Eggs with Dandelion Greens

Prepared dandelion greens (see above. This can be served with greens that have just been boiled, if you don’t feel like doing the sauté step).

2 large eggs

2 tsp vinegar

Sriracha or hot sauce (optional)

Whole wheat toast or whole wheat English muffins

 

Crack the eggs into small cups, ramekins, or prep bowls and set them near the stove.

Add water to a large saucepan and bring it to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer. Add the vinegar, and using a whisk, carefully stir the water to create a small whirlpool.

Once you’ve got your whirlpool going, drop the eggs into the swirling water. The movement of the water helps keep the egg whites close to the yolk. You may still get a bit of white spreading out away from the yolk—that’s fine.

Cook the eggs for 2-3 minutes (depending on how runny you like your yolk) and remove with a slotted spoon. Set the eggs on top of the dandelion greens, drizzle with Sriracha or hot sauce (or simply sprinkle with salt and pepper or fresh herbs) and serve with toast or English muffins.

 

Healthy Roundup

Dandelion leaves, roots, and flowers contain terpenes, sterols, polysaccharides, fatty acids, flavonoids, and antioxidant phytochemicals as well as vitamins C and D, many of the B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, iron, potassium, and zinc. Some research indicates dandelion extract may have benefits for diabetics, due to its ability to inhibit alpha-glucosidase activity similar to certain anti-diabetic drugs. In addition, there’s evidence that suggests dandelions may help modulate blood sugar, preventing fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Dandelions influence nitric oxide production in the body, which is necessary for immune regulation.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Marianne permalink
    April 7, 2011 10:13 am

    We are a large Italian family and we break “Lent Fasting” on Easter Morning with delicious Frittata, Dandelion Salad, Egg Bread and White Wine….we add Sliced, Hard Boiled Eggs and White Wine Vinegar, Salt & Pepper to our Dandelion Salad….
    We wait all year for this delicious [acquired tasting] salad!!!
    Buona Pasqua to Everyone!!!

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