Thursday, March 31, 2011

Warm Dandelion Salad with Fried Shallots

Some weeks we have salad every night of the week. This wasn't one of those weeks- frozen veggies were our super heros for the last day or two, saving us a trip to the store for fresh veg when everyone was sick and tired.

Then we went outside.

We were refreshed by the spring air. I was happy to see things coming up in the garden -kale, garlic, lettuce and some rhubarb. But it looked like nothing was ready to eat. Then we spied some young dandelions growing on the side of the house.

We grabbed the scissors and the kids got cutting. What resulted was a container full of spring's fresh and free greens- dandelion leaves mixed with just a little chickweed for good measure.

Some time ago I read that the classic dandelion salad is one made with a warm bacon dressing. I tried that with some organic turkey bacon at the end of last year's dandy season and it was quite successful. The kids and husband liked it. My mother, however, refused to eat weeds.

This time I wanted something vegetarian with some texture and tastiness. I happened to have some shallots from the farmer's market this week, so they made their way into the salad.

The results were tastier than I am capable of explaining in words. We fought over the scraps in the kids' salad bowls. I tried to record it pictorially but it ended up looking like dandelion and worms. Fitting perhaps? I guess it depends on how you feel about eating weeds from your yard.

Warm Dandelion Salad with Fried Shallots
Some salad recipes with fried shallots insist on them being deep fried. Sauteing them over higher heat gives them a nice texture with a little crispness and a little tenderness that mixes well with the dressing.

3-4 cups washed, dried and roughly chopped dandelion leaves
1 cup cross-sliced shallots (approximately 3-4 large shallots sliced in circles)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1. In a medium-sized frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the sliced shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes until browning but not burnt, adjust heat if needed.
3. Add 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Toss warm dressing over dandelion greens. Season with salt, starting with 1/8 tsp and adjust to taste.