There is nothing bashful about this salad. It features lots of assertive flavors including dandelion leaves: one of my favorite bitter greens. Like chicory, radicchio, watercress, and arugula, dandelion leaves are very cleansing and they are also particularly helpful for the digestion. Dandelion greens are super high in vitamins and minerals, as well.
Dandelion greens are best (least bitter) in the early spring before they’ve had a chance to flower. You are, of course, welcome to use those in your yard; just make sure they are unsprayed, not too close to the road, and haven’t been urinated on by your furry friends ;)
Because I have two dogs, I usually buy organic dandelion greens at my natural foods store for use in recipes like this curry or this salad.
If you really don’t like/can’t find organic dandelion greens, you can substitute your favorite greens. The bacon is optional, but I like the crunchy saltiness it adds. I only eat bacon from pastured pigs, with no (potentially carcinogenic) preservatives added. If you don’t want to use bacon, you can sizzle your ramps in some olive oil instead. I mentioned in my last post that I foraged a whole bunch of ramps recently. You may be able to find some in your own woods are at your Farmer’s Market, but it not, you can substitute green onion bottoms in the salad and chopped shallot in the dressing.
Dandelion Greens Salad with Ramps, Bacon and Blue Cheese
* 3 strips bacon, preferably pastured and preservative-free
* 8 ramps, bottom white parts only
* 4 cups chopped organic dandelion greens
* 1 cup chopped organic parsley
* approximately 3 tablespoons blue cheese (I used Cashel Blue Irish Farmhouse cheese)
* juice from 1/2 fresh lemon, preferably a Meyer lemon
* 1/4 cup best olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
* 2 ramps, bottom white parts only, minced
* pinch of sea salt
1. Cook the bacon in a hot skillet until crisp on both sides. Remove to a towel to drain and cool. Leave the hot bacon fat in the pan over medium heat.
2. Toss the ramps into the hot bacon fat. Allow to cook for a minute or two, until nicely browned on all sides. Remove and allow to cool, then crumble into a small bowl and set aside.
3. Coarsely chop the ramps and mix in a medium bowl with the greens, parsley, and crumbled bacon. Set aside while you make the dressing.
4. Mix all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the salad. Crumble the blue cheese over the salad and serve.
More on Dandelions:
Info from Wild Man Steve Brill
Sassy Radish’s Dandelion Greens with Shaved Fennel, Celery, and Parsley
Dandelion Greens Salad with Blackberries from Kirsten’s Kitchen
Smoky Dandelion Greens with Spinach and Pine Nuts from Affairs of Living