Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wilted Dandelion Greens Salad

I will admit that I didn't get on the bitter greens bandwagon until adulthood. The closest that I came to experiencing the fresh flavors of these delightfully bitter leaves was in a salad mix or the coleslaw at our local Whole Foods. However, I was slowly introduced to the different varieties of greens by my husband. Starting with arugula, Chinese broccoli, and even progressing to roasted brussel sprouts! I thought I was quite the adventurer!

Once we moved out to the suburbs, we had greater access to all sorts of farm fresh greens. For example, we had 3 whole months where we were getting overflowing amounts of kale in our farm share basket each week. We ate a LOT of kale chips and kale smoothies! Eventually (and much to our relief) they were supplanted by beet greens, collards, and bok choy. We stewed, sauteed, and enjoyed our way through the summer, and every summer since.

One of my most recent favorites is dandelion greens. I have bought them in the past, but had a lot of trouble figuring out what to do with them. Fear? Intimidation? Not having the right recipe? Take your pick.... That is, until a few weeks ago.

While looking for recipes for Passover, I stumbled on a beautiful salad (via Martha Stewart), that is absolutely amazing. We tried it and fell in love: Wilted Dandelion Greens with Warm Red Wine Vinegar & Shallot Vinaigrette.

Deliciously bitter dandelion greens are tossed in a warm dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, golden raisins and shallots. The cooked vinaigrette is poured directly on the greens, gently wilting them. I added toasted pecans that I had lying around as well.... Their crunch and rich toothsome texture really complimented the dish!

I served these dandelion greens most recently as a side dish to my Healthy Roasted Salmon with Sauteed Mushrooms. It was a perfect combination between the rich fish and wild greens! Try this salad as your first (or hundredth) helping of bitter greens... You'll love it!

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Warm Red Wine Vinegar & Shallot Vinaigrette
Slightly modified from
serves 6-8

1 bunch (1/2 pound) dandelion greens, washed and dried
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup whole raw pecans
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F. Using a cookie sheet, spread the raw pecans into a single layer. Toast the nuts in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Keep an eye on them because they can easily burn! Roughly chop and reserve.

Take the dandelion greens and cut the stems off, about 2 inches at the bottom. Discard the stems. Take the remaining leaves and chop into 3 inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot, sugar, salt, and pepper to the pan. While stirring occasionally, cook until lightly caramelized (watch for burning), about 4-5 minutes.

Add the dijon and red wine vinegar to the pan and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the raisins to the vinaigrette.

Immediately pour the mixture over the dandelion greens and add the toasted pecans. Toss to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Serve & enjoy!

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