In the past, the dandelion was well known as a folk medicine cure-all. Used in soups or tinctures or made into wine, dandelion was long thought to be a blood cleanser, good for the liver and the kidneys and rejuvenating as a spring tonic, This recipe is inspired by Clara’s Kitchen, a web site dedicated to Depression era cooking by Clara Cannucciari (1915-2013) based on her own experiences living through that era. It was tested and prepared by Charlotte D’Anna, a sophomore at Staples.
Salads from foraged greens have been popular for centuries before and after the 1930s and this particular one will change your mind about dandelions being a nuisance weed to a delicious and elegant salad green with a zesty bite.
Before foraging, dandelions please be sure you are picking from an area untreated with pesticides or commercial fertilizers. The best way to pick and clean dandelions are by digging them up from the root using a common weeding tool. In a pinch a flat head screwdriver or butter knife will do the trick too.
- 1 dozen dandelions, washed
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 6 grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
1. Wash the dandelions: Hold each dandelion plant under cold running water, hold each dandelion by the root to wash off dirt and debris. Have a large bowl filled with cold water ready and place each dandelion into it. Swirl the dandelions around and pour off the water when cloudy. Rinse the bowl and repeat until water is clear.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of the sea salt and half of the lemon juice to the dandelions and fresh water in the bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. Pick off the flowers from the stem base and set aside on a doubled-up paper towel to dry.
3. Turn each dandelion upside-down, root facing up and softly collect the leaves in one hand then pinch and twist off the leaves 1/4 inch above the root base with the other hand. Place the leaves in a colander and discard the roots. Dry using paper towels or a salad spinner.
4. Place the dried dandelion leaves in a large salad bowl along with the cherry tomatoes
5. Whisk together the remaining salt and lemon juice along with the pepper, olive oil and honey. Pour over the dandelion salad and toss lightly. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese and dandelion flowers.