I finished my teaching week this afternoon and found myself in need of an attitude adjustment. It’s been a busy, hectic week but I still can’t figure out what I supposedly accomplished in all that business. Still laundry to do and other household chores….
In prowling through the grocery store (my local Harris Teeter) the other day I found absolutely lovely dandelion greens. I haven’t had dandelion greens very often since I was a kid growing up on the farm. Then they were a springtime treat–the young tender ones in a wilted salad with bacon dressing. I thought that I’d try them in a one-dish meal based on a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Shortcut Cook–quick, easy, and in the comfort-food category. I decided that a good complement to the bitterness of the dandelion greens would be Siciliansausage which Harris Teeter makes in the meat department. It’s a bit like Italian, but spicier and with much less fennel.
Remove sausage from casing, brown; add chopped onion and continue with the browning, then add a couple of garlic cloves, minced. Add the chopped dandelion greens, stems about 10 minutes before the leafier parts (still wet from washing), cover and simmer. Depending on the spiciness of the sausage you might want some red pepper flakes. This particular sausage is strongly enough flavored that I did not add anything else. When the greens are almost cooked, add some cooked pinto beans (in this case I’m resorting to canned ones). For a change from beans, add some diced potatoes to cook with the sausage and the greens.
Finish with a tiny drizzle of good fruity extra-virgin olive oil and it’s good to go, add some of my homemade oat bread, and ripe and fragrant Bartlett pears.
It’s certainly easy, reasonably quick–it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the greens to cook, but it sure does contribute to attitude adjustment! (Sorry, no pictures–it’s not photogenic.) It’s good for single-serving cooking since I can buy the sausages individually, and if I’m using mustard, kale, I can buy those loose in the amount needed I don’t have leftovers. If there is more than I’m going to use at once, I’ll take out some of the sausage and greens to be used later, perhaps as an omelette filling.
A son goût!
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They do have a bitter flavor which mellows considerably with cooking. The ones in the market are usually older leaves than what my grandmother had me pick for salads–those (as I remember) had “bitterness” more like Belgian endive or escarole and had to be very young or they were a bit “chewy” to say the least! I think that next time I’ll try hot Italian sausage–I think that the fennel would be an excellent contrast to the dandelion greens.
I have never cooked dandelions; my family used to have them as a salad, which I didn’t like. I am intrigued by your recipe though; next time I see dandelions at the shop I will try your dish.