Cooking with dandelion greens

Cooking with dandelion greens might make you feel a little crazy--weeds in your frying pan, and all--but the result is delish. Dandelion greens are full of vitamins A and B, as well as potassium and iron. And it is so fun to go foraging and return with a basket full of produce.

Many chefs recommend using these greens in salads, especially good as a substitute for spinach in a spinach/bacon salad. But dandelion greens are more bitter than spinach, similar to a collard. They can substitute for any green in a Southern-style side dish, full of vinegar and garlic, and served with hot sauce. Their peppery bitterness also creates a good substitute for arugula or watercress.

My favorite preparation is a simple saute in olive oil. Make sure the greens you use are not treated with pesticides. Remove the stems and keep the jagged green leaves. Give the greens a rough chop, mince a generous amount of garlic, heat up just enough olive oil to coat greens lightly, first sauteing a garlic for a minute or two, then add your greens. Saute until wilted, splash with balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Another variation is to add ginger when cooking your garlic, later seasoning with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon and garnished with sesame seeds. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy!