Not long ago we did a post about picking cicoria, dandelion greens. Yes, there are plenty of different types of greens you can buy at the grocery store – in fact, I’m pretty sure you can even purchase cicoria at the store. The point is that each has a unique flavour and sometimes the best flavour is bountiful right in your own backyard. Something that most people detest and spend so much energy trying to get rid of, dandelions, is not only delicious but good for you too. Old time Italian cuisine was never filled with tons of meat. Legumes, greens, and fruit were plentiful so that is what was found on many a dinner table. Growing up I never thought it was strange to be eating ‘weeds’, it’s just what we did. Then, as a teenager, I remember the looks on peoples’ faces when you told them, and now as an adult, people ask how to make it!
Give it a try 🙂
What to do with the cicoria you picked? Here are a couple ways to use the dandelion greens either fresh or cooked.
One way is to use cicoria while it’s fresh and throw some in your salad. Mix it up with your lettuce as it adds a wonderful tang to your salad similar to radicchio. Dress your salad as you normally would and enjoy the extra flavour that you will only get for a short period of time during the year.
Another way to prepare it, is to boil it briefly and then sauté it. Start of course by washing it well and then parboil it for 10 minutes. In a pan, heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, throw in a couple of minced garlic cloves and add your favourite hot peppers (sliced up). Let them cook for a couple minutes then toss in your greens and finally add salt to taste. Sauté all together for 5 minutes and enjoy with some fresh crusty bread.
For a heartier dish you can add some beans. We prefer romano beans for this dish but any bean will do whether you cook them yourself or from a can. A plate of this, with your bread of choice and a glass of wine makes a wonderful meal.