There are some in this world that look at an unwieldy field or an overgrown front lawn with dread. Those who gaze into a seemingly endless sea of miscellaneous plant life and sigh with frustration. The same people who look upon wild vegetation and see nothing more than back breaking hard labor and hours of sweaty frustration.
…I see lunch.
The phrase “urban forager” has grown in popularity over the last decade. The idea behind urban foraging is to look among the streets, the paths, and the playgrounds around you and harvest food from your current location. The idea is that you don’t need a huge garden to harvest your own fresh produce. At the cornerstone of this movement are the oft maligned and frequently shunned weeds. Usually seen as a nuisance, these plants are often quickly discarded or worse, chemically drowned into oblivion. With a little patience and a trained eye, you could quickly discover that several of the weeds that you previously thought to be nothing more than a garden killer are actually ingredients for a killer dinner.
Clovers, chickweed, and mallow are just a few of the delicious lawn treats that exist in abundance everywhere around you. These delights can be found nearly everywhere you look (if you know what you’re looking for), and can add spice, depth, and flavor to any salad, soup, or entrée.
A fantastic jumping off point for those dabbling in weeding their weeds and eating them too is the common dandelion. Dandelions delight children who love their yellow glow and their snowy seeds, but often stress out frustrated home owners who desperately try to rid their landscaping of the pesky greens. However, dandelion greens are among the most flavorful and complex treats in any garden, whether they were intended to be there or not. The sharp bitterness of this green is a glorious paring with most meats, but can serve beautifully on their own as a solid salad.
Sauteed Dandelion Green Salad
Whether you’re a veteran Dandelion eater or a newbie to Dandelion Greens, you just can’t go wrong with this health, and easy-to-make salad. Go to your back yard and seek out the beautiful green leaves of the dandelion. Collect four cups worth, and then give this a try:
- 4 Cups Dandelion Greens, stems cut off
- 2 Tbs Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 Cloves of Garlic, diced
- ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp crushed Red Pepper
- Salt and Pepper to taste
On high heat, melt the butter and olive oil in the pat. Once hot, throw in the red onions until starting to become translucent. Add crushed red pepper and garlic. Quickly add the dandelion greens and heat through for 30-60 seconds and immediately plate. Salt and pepper to taste.
This mega salad will have all the decadence of a fancy eatery, but was born straight from your overgrown window box. This salad should still have a little crunch, a rich buttery feel, and a lingering heat.