Dandelions Two Ways
Next time some dandelions pop up in your garden don't get rid of them - embrace them. The leafy greens are delicious and like many bitter greens, extremely good for you. They are also super versatile, cheap and available year-round, - though at their best in spring and early summer. Do make sure you don't pick them from anywhere that's been sprayed though, or near too much pollution.
Here's a couple of ways you can use dandelion leaves instead of other leafy greens in your cooking.
Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
3/4 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 bunch dandelion greens (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and roast until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.
Add Parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after awhile — that's ok.
With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Steak with Dandelion, Rocket and Parmesan
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce or 2 finely chopped anchovy fillets
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups rocket
1/2 bunch dandelion greens (about 2 cups)
salt & pepper
1 1/4 pounds flank steak, cut into 2 pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus wedges for serving
Flaky sea salt
1 ounce Parmesan cheese for shaving
Place the onion rings in a bowl of cold water and set aside. Place the fish sauce or chopped anchovies and olive oil in a small bowl. Finely chop 1/2 cup of the rocket and 1/2 cup of the dandelion greens, and add them to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine; set aside.
Season the steak all over with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the steak and sear until well-browned on both sides and medium-rare (more rare than medium), 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board and set aside to rest while you prepare the greens.
3. Place the remaining rocket and dandelion greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Drain the onions, add them to the bowl with the greens, and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving platter.
4. Slice the steak across the grain. Arrange the steak on top of the salad, pouring any cutting board juices over the top. Spoon the chopped rocket and dandelion mixture over the top of the steak salad. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper. Shave the cheese over everything and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.