Thursday, February 16, 2012

reweeding



The other day at the grocery store, I heard a woman (a well-heeled woman, who had parked next to me so I saw her snazzy wheels and knew this shocking thing I am about to tell you was not likely an issue of cash flow) ask the young man in the produce department where she could find fresh mint. He pointed it out. She said, “can I buy half a bunch?” and to my amazement, he said yes. “Good,” she said. “And I want half a bunch of basil, too.”


The very idea! Nice Produce Guy says that happens frequently enough that they have a policy about it, which apparently is to say yes even though it is possibly the silliest thing I can imagine asking a produce guy, other than maybe “can you peel this orange for me, and then can I pay less per pound?”


My reactionary response is a recipe for a metric butt-load of dip, because I was loathe to leave you with either the desire to ask the produce person for half a bunch of dandelions, or if that proves untenable to you, with half a bunch of dandelions themselves.


Dandelions continue to be the snappiest-looking things in the greens aisle, so I continue to seek out ways to make them into something. I started out thinking I was making pesto here, and I bet you could use it that way. So far, I am just eating it, but I watched someone in the kitchen spread it on bread, and someone else glopped it onto some noodles.


For the olives here I used the regular old kind you might put in your martini, not anything fancy, and I like the sweetness of the almonds to balance out the strong taste of the greens but you could make do with another nut that amuses you. These proportions made something quite thick that sits nicely on a piece of bread; increase the olive oil a bit and use just 1/4 cup of nuts to get something more sauce-like. If the quantity exceeds your capacity, I think it would freeze well.


dandelion pesto

makes about 1.5 cups


1 bunch of dandelion greens

about 4 ozs baby spinach leaves

¾ c EV olive oil

1/2 to 2 cloves garlic, as you prefer

½ c pitted green olives

2t preserved lemon, or 2 t lemon juice and a pinch of salt

3.5 ozs feta cheese, crumbled

¼ c raw sunflower seeds

½ c raw almonds


Thoroughly wash the greens so you don't end up with grit in your dip. Nobody likes that. Chop off the thicker stem-ends of the dandelion and discard (or give them to a sheep, if one lives nearby), and then coarsely chop the leaves. Place about a third of the greens in the container of a blender or food processor with the olive oil and garlic and whizz to break them down a bit, then add another third of the greens, or as the capacity of your machine indicates until they are all in there. When all the greens are roughly chopped, add the remaining items and process to your desired degree of smoothness. Taste and adjust seasonings.

1 comment:

  1. If the nice produce guy had been named Brady, you could have used the meta tag "Brady Bunch." This sounds like a delicious way to use my preserved lemons and my insane surfeit of almonds, but I'm wondering why it is that the markets in your town are brimming with dandelion greens, and San Diego markets aren't? I'll keep looking. If that fails, I'll call Brady. I'm sure he ships whole and half bunches.

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