Monday, December 7, 2009

Speaking of Bitter and Horrible

This week in our CSA box we received a bunch of red stemmed dandelion greens. I've never had such a thing, although as a child I frequently added dandelions picked in the yard to my mud soups. I found they imparted a lovely yellow hue. Those dandelions aren't the same though. This kind of dandelion green is very popular in Italy so I went to my Italian friend for help. We chopped them up, blanched them and cooked them in sauteed onions and garlic with lots of olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper. I find this a winning combo with most veggies (I usually leave out the onion part though). You can pretty much make any green vegetable taste really good by sauteeing it in olive oil, crushed red pepper, salt and garlic. I'm sad to report that the dandelion greens were one of the most horrible things that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Admittedly, sometimes I have the palate of a toddler and would rather eat macaroni and cheese over pretty much anything else, but still. I eat arugula. I eat collards and callaloo without incident. I've been known to take a nibble of broccoli rabe here and there, but this was out of the question. Dandelion greens are really bitter. In a very bad way.

I decided to pawn them off on my dad. He loves bitter food. I asked him how he liked them.

"Umm. They are on the strong side," he replied.

So there. If my dad thought it was strong, it was strong.

Bleck. At least I can say I tried them. Alas, I took no pictures, but cooked down, greens aren't so pretty.

Next time, the dandelion greens are going in the extras box.

If you like dandelion greens, here are some creative and varied recipes for them.


  1. I had some in a yakisoba last night and liked them fine. Maybe you just got a bad batch? I'm planning to prepare the rest similarly to you tonight so now I'm a bit apprehensive about how they'll turn out.

    If anyone follows that link, you should be careful using recipes from that website. They're for real dandelion greens, not the faux ones we've got.

  2. I'm really interested to know how yours turned out, so please let us know. Also, ours are fake?? Really? How? I must know. Please explain the difference for me, as dandelion greens are very unfamiliar to me.

  3. It did not turn out well. I've posted the details with a warning back on my blog.

    And yes, ours is fake. Italian dandelion is actually red rib chicory. Cichorium intybus as opposed to Taraxacum officinale. They look quite similar which is why they got tagged with the name. I have very little experience cooking with either so I really don't know how well they substitute. That's why I urged caution.

  4. Did you find them too bitter? If so, younger leaves are more sweet.

    Also, correction, olive oil, salt and garlic make almost any food taste great!

  5. My friend made the pasta w/ dadelion recipe that was in the newsletter (sans pasta maker) -- turned out delicious! Really I would not have tasted what green was mixed in had I not already known.