Today, since autumn is giving us still wonderful days, we decided to go for a trip between the fields in the countryside, looking for dandelions 🙂
At home my parents are often eating wild herbs, all year round, mostly from their field and surroundings. But here I never took the time to go looking for them, and today I finally asked myself “well, why not to go also here?” 😀 think: it’s good, it’s healthy and it’s for free 🙂 just make sure to pick them up in the countryside, far from the cities and from the streets 🙂 (not long ago I saw a couple of girls picking up a full bag of dandelion leaves in a small park in Budapest, next to the street and with a lot of dogs pissing around 😀 that was weird).
The best moment to pick the leaves is in spring, before they have flowered, but also in autumn, after the flowers are dead. But for the leaves, it is ok also in other times. The smaller/medium size are better, while the larger ones could be a bit tougher.
The dandelions (in Italian is called tarassaco, or with many other regional names) are very healthy, especially for your liver, and they kind of clean your body if you regularly eat them. Dandelion has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic. It’s used in herbal medicine as a mild laxative, for increasing appetite, and as a plant bitter for improving digestion. Moreover you can use also their roots (especially in the past it was used to make a cheaper substitute of the coffee) and also the flower (you can make a kind of jam with it, or a syrup that was called the “poor people honey”, but good!). It’s possible to use also the buds, some people say it is similar to capers 🙂
They are bitterish, but if you like that then you’ll have no problems to like them 🙂
I decided to make a simple dish, adding potatoes, eggs, taggiasche olives and provola cheese. It was really delicious! But even more simple, they are perfect also to make a frittata 🙂
INGREDIENTS (4 people):
- 400 g dandelion leaves
- 400 g potatoes
- 60 g taggiasche/cailletier olives (but also other olives can be ok, taggiasche are sweeter)
- 150 g Provola cheese (I used provola Iblea in this case, but also other cheese like provolone, scamorza or Asiago DOP can work well)
- about 50 g of Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
- 2 big eggs (or 3 small)
- 1 clove of garlic
- chili (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- breadcrumbs (from a good bread)
- First of all you have to wash well the dandelions, leave them in cold water in the sink for a good 10 minutes, then cut the bottom of the leaves and throw away the leaves which are not nice.
- Take a pot and start boiling the potatoes, with their peel.
- Take another large pot, boil some water (not too much) and when it’s boiling add all the clean dandelions. The more you boil them and the more they lose their bitterness, but they also lose their important properties. I boil them for just 5 minutes. While they are boiling take a large pan and heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, with the clove of garlic and the chili (if you like it).
- Then drain the dandelions, squeeze them from the water, cut them in some pieces and then add to the pan with the extra virgin olive oil, and let them get the flavor for some minutes. Remove the garlic.
- In the same time peel the boiled potatoes, and squeeze them just by using a fork, and add them to the dandelions, and mix well. Cut also the taggiasche olives in pieces and add them too to the pan.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the salt and the black pepper.
- Pour the dandelions, potatoes and olives in the bowl, and mix all together.
- Take a 20 cm large oven pan, spread some extra virgin olive oil on the bottom and on the sides, sprinkle breadcrumbs and then add half of the dandelions. Then add the slices of Provola cheese, and then cover with the remaining dandelions.
- Sprinkle the top with some more breadcrumbs and extra Parmigiano Reggiano, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake at 180 °C, fan-assisted mode, for about 20 minutes.
- When it’s ready take it out, let it cool down for at least 5-8 minutes, and then cut in slices 🙂 enjoy! with some fresh salad or some other vegetables 🙂
PS: if it’s remaining it will be good rewarmed the day after 🙂 and this recipe can be made also with chicory/blue dandelion.