22nd Apr, 2009

The Joy of Foraging No. 7: Dandelion Leaves


I’ve tried dandelion leaves in salads and haven’t aquired the taste for them as they’re pretty bitter, but the leaves in the garden are so lush-looking at the moment I wanted to try them cooked. They’ve featured in four meals in the last couple of weeks and all were delicious. Nutritional benefit: Vitamins A, C and K, Calcium and Potassium (Vitamin C is water-soluble so reduced if cooked).

Hot Potato Salad with Smoked Mackerel and Dandelions (recipe abridged from ‘Rick Stein’s seafood’)
(Serves 4)

300g New Potatoes, boiled until tender and sliced
25g Dandelion leaves, washed, long stems cut off, blanched in boiling water for a few seconds then refreshed under cold water
75g Smoked Mackerel Fillet, sliced
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar, whisked with the oil below
150ml Sunflower Oil
15g Onion, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper

Put everything except the dandelion leaves into a large hot pan and heat through. Add the dandelion leaves and serve hot.

Garlicy Lion Mash – Mash roasted or sauted garlic and blanched, chopped dandelion leaves with your potato. (Blanching the leaves reduces the bitterness).

Bacon and Dandelion Risotto – Add blanched dandelion leaves to your own recipe or try my recipe here, replacing some or all of the nettle with dandelion leaves.

Tomato and Dandelion Panzanella – Panzanella is traditionally an Italian ‘left-overs’ salad, made with stale bread and tomato – so go with the flow and adapt it according to the ingredients you have to hand – cube or tare some bread, drizzle with olive oil and toast in a frying pan or roast in the oven then add garlic, chopped tomatoes and anything else you have which would work (try nuts/seeds/cheese/olives/herbs/peppers/onion…), not forgetting some dandelion leaves. Serve hot – the bread goes a bit soggy soaking up the tomato juice in the same way as bruchetta – it’s meant to!


It’s made my mouth water – I shall have to go and have a cup of tea!

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