Spring is coming! Yeah, so maybe it’s still cold and rainy and we haven’t seen many springtime ingredients yet. But some nettles are starting to come up, as are some other early greens, both wild and cultivated. And one of these greens is probably right in your yard, if you have a yard, and you probably want to pull it up anyway.
That’s right, it’s dandelion green season. Dandelion greens are best when they’re very young, with thin, narrow leaves growing in a rosette that hasn’t yet produced a flower. They’re slightly bitter in a good way, they’re delicate, and they don’t get slimy like spinach when cooked. They make great pesto too, if you have the patience to pick enough and clean them.
They also go fantastically well with one of the other few things we’re getting already this season: leeks. Sauté the two together in some yellow springtime butter with a little salt, and the leeks get a certain sweetness that perfectly balances the dandelion greens’ flavor. So very tasty.
The result is great on its own, mixed with mild spring cheese, tossed onto scrambled eggs, spooned on top of broiled meats, stuck into the center of buckwheat crèpes… Basically, use it anywhere you’d like a savory flavor. I ate mine with scrambled eggs and a bit of some fresh cheese my friend kindly left in my farmers market bag on Saturday.
It seems silly to write this in recipe form, but here you go.
Dandelion and Leek Sauté
Handful of dandelion greens (see notes above)
per every 1 smallish leek
1. Remove roots of leek and outer hard layer(s). Wash well. Slice into thin strips.
2. Heat butter. Sauté leeks on low heat (they burn easily). Add a pinch of salt.
3. Add dandelion greens. Stir until wilted. Taste to adjust salt.
4. Add to any other recipe or eat as is.