The Rock of Ages Visitors Center Blog; Featuring Vermont Travel Tips, Vermont Recipes and other Musings of the Day
Dandelion greens are a hearty green with an ever-so-slightly bitter taste. It is best to pick very young, very tender leaves, when the leaves are sweeter. While fried dandelion blossoms are a separate culinary experience altogether, finding a young dandelion plant with tender leaves and one central bud still tight to the ground is a great treat. Dig it up and put it in your basket along with the smallest, youngest dandelion leaves you can dig.
Cut off and discard all of the roots. Wash all of your greens carefully in cold water and rinse well as you would for lettuce or other greens. You may also wish to use commercial rinses designed for washing greens. Avoid any areas of the lawn that are sprayed with pesticides.
Traditionally, Vermonters cook their dandelion greens with salt pork. Get a piece of salt pork about half the size of a fist from your butcher or from the meat case at your grocery store. Salt pork is made from three different cuts and can be mostly lean, streaked with fat or mostly fat. Get a piece which is nicely streaked.
Put a kettle and water on the stove, slice up the pork into sections and throw them into the water and bring to a simmering boil. Boil about thirty minutes. Skim off any scum if it develops. Then remove the salt pork from the water and put the dandelion greens into it. Boil until tender. For small, young leaves, about 10 minutes. If the leaves are large, you may wish to boil them for 20 minutes or so, testing periodically for tenderness as you would for any greens you are cooking.
Drain the greens in a colander, but do not rinse. Serve warm. You may wish to cut up the boiled salt pork into smaller pieces and toss them into the greens before serving. Some folks like to add just a dash of vinegar to the greens before eating them. Or you might try adding a teaspoon of a
Of course, you can slice up the salt pork and fry it up, then sauté the dandelion greens in the rendered fat with some minced onions and garlic. Any way you fix them, they are sure to be a treat for your family. If you have younger children in the household, dig the greens together as a family and make an adventure out of it. Enjoy yourselves as you bring a little taste of