I developed a surprise liking for dandelion greens last summer in Italy. I ordered the sauteed greens on the menu at a pizzeria, and a plate of greenish grey cooked leafy greens arrived on a plate smothered in olive oil. The unappealing looks were deceiving, as what appeared to be overcooked greens were absolutely delicious. I looked through the leafy greens available at the grocery store and determined I had eaten cicoria, Italian dandelion. I bought the cicoria and tried to lightly saute them with garlic and was not able to replicate the deliciousness I had at the local pizzeria.
I was reluctant to try dandelion greens at home, as they looked a bit different, and I got over my reservations. I also learned that they need to be lightly boiled in salted water to mellow the bitter flavour. Squeezing the cooked greens removes excess water and allows for a better saute. Dandelion greens can be delicious without overcooking, the secret is to be generous with the olive oil and lemon. In addition to being delicious, dandelion greens are a source of vitamins A, C and K, iron and calcium.
1 bunch dandelion greens, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 clove of garlic, sliced
Olive oil to your taste, probably a minimum of one tablespoon
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add dandelion greens and return to a boil for a minute or two. Rinse with cool water in a colander. Once greens are cool, squeeze excess water with your hands.
In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it starts to brown slightly. Add dandelion greens and cook until warmed through and thoroughly coated with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Three weeks into the new year and the only intention that has come to mind is to be kind, here and now. A daily goal to be kind, caring and compassionate to ourselves, here and now. Be kind to all around us, here and now, which requires an effort to be present at all times.
All changes that we wish to make are much easier when we are able to peacefully accept what is here and now, from here we can take a step forward on a clear path in the right direction.
My list of memorable taste experiences was compiled by the end of 2014 and I am only managing to publish after the new year…perhaps I had too much fun over the holidays if that is even possible, a good way to start the year
The best sweet potatoes ever: I converted to eating sweet potatoes on a regular basis upon the discovery of the recipe in the Ottolenghi cookbook. Here is the recipe http://www.vivianlaw.ca/tag/best-ever-sweet-potato-recipe/
Pistachio Zeppole at Buca Yorkville: I had never heard of a roman donut until I ate this divine one at Buca. Looked like a bagel, but light and airy filled with delicious pistachio cream and cherries topped with candied pistachios. www.buca.ca
Scones at Harvey Nichols: Clotted cream is a favourite food of mine and the clotted cream met a special scone this fall at Harvey Nics.
Duck tacos and duck confit wings at Dailo/Lo Pan: Chef Nick Liu has some very creative asian dishes at his restaurant Dailo and bar above, Lo Pan. Loved the duck tacos and duck confit wings http://dailoto.com/
Ciccoria: is Italian for dandelion greens and I only learned to appreciate them this summer when I ate them sauteed and drenched in olive oil at a local restaurant in Tuscany.
Party Hummus: the best hummus recipe yet by Briana Santoro of the Naked Label www.thenakedlabel.com who I met on a beach to start 2014.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi inspired sushi at Yasu: the movie was an inspiration in 2012 , so imagine our delight in a delicious dining experience along those dreams of sushi in Toronto http://yasu-sushibar.com/
Coconut Shrimp at the Halekulani: the coconut shrimp served at House Without a Key in Waikiki are the best ever time and time again