Lovin’ Fresh is a series of recipes designed to showcase produce gathered from local farms or grown in my own garden.
No matter how much I enjoy them, I always feel a little strange about eating dandelion greens. It’s also strange to think about somebody purposely growing dandelions, don’t you think? But the truth is, they’re mighty tasty, in that slightly bitter way.
The urban farm I volunteer on is growing dandelions for the first time this year, and the large bunch I brought home with me landed on the counter next to the mesh bag of baby red potatoes I’d just picked up at the store. Fate would have these two ingredients married together over the course of the next hour into a hearty warm salad, one of those concoctions where I raided the fridge and threw in whatever seemed viable, including some chicory from the farm too.
A little bit of background on dandelion greens for those of you who might be new to them. First off, don’t harvest any from your yard or the roadside, unless you are a hundred percent sure that the area they are growing in hasn’t been sprayed for a year or more. Nutritionally speaking, dandelion greens have a notably high amount of carotene, vitamin A, and something called lutein.
Lutein, in case you’re curious, is a big player in the health of your eyes, warding off macular degeneration. In fact, dandelion greens have nearly sever times more lutein in them per serving than carrots. Maybe that’s why rabbits have such good eye sight…its not the carrots but all the dandelions they’re eating out in our lawns. Just at thought.
Oh, and one final thing: this salad was great as cold leftovers at lunch for an entire week.
Red Potato and Sautéed Greens Salad
1 lb. baby red potatoes
1 large bunch of dandelion greens
1 head of chicory
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can white kidney beans, rinsed
Zest and juice of a lemon
2 T. ricotta
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and slice in half. Set aside.
While potatoes boil, trim ends of dandelion greens and chicory. Rinse well (but do not dry) and cut into large pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet and add garlic, stirring just until golden. Add the greens and sauté just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the white kidney beans and boiled potatoes to the skillet. Toss contents together and then add lemon zest, juice and ricotta. Toss contents again to evenly coat. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve either warm or chilled.