Our little Segurian courtyard is filled with dandelions, no flowers yet, just the lovely little leaves. Usually I weed the courtyard, making way for the bright green moss that I love. It grows in the shade underneath the dandelions and sparkles in the sunlight when exposed.
This week however, I decided to do a little reading on the ever present dandelion greens. It turns out dandelion greens are very nutritious. They have concentrations of beta-carotene than carrots, and more iron and calcium than spinach. By eating, as opposed to composting this ubiquitous little weed, you also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.
Worth a try I guess! Apparently the term dandelion comes from the old French of “dent-de-lion” lions tooth, after the saw-toothed shape of the dandelion leaf. I picked a couple of large handfuls of the smaller leaves – these are less bitter that the larger leaves, and set about making pesto. The pesto was quite bitter, but still made a tastier dip than anything store bought, and was especially good smeared in the base of vegetable tarts, and mixed with a little cream fraiche in pasta dishes.
Dandelion leaves are tougher than basil leaves, which can be mixed nicely into pesto by chopping and then pummelling with a mortar and pestle. I used a hand blender to chop and blend the leaves together. If you use a hand blender be aware that leaves may collect in the blade. This happened to me and I (incredibly stupidly) attempted to free them, blending my finger as a result... a quick, painful trip to the pharmacie ensued. If you do need to clear the blade be sure to turn the power off.
Here’s the recipe, I hope you like it.
Three handfuls of young washed and chopped dandelion leaves
Half a cup grated parmesan cheese
!/4 cup olive oil
Step One: In a large mixing bowl place the dandelion leaves, parmesan cheese and half of the olive oil. Mix with a hand blender. This will take a while as the leaves are slightly tough. Slowly add the remainder of the olive oil and salt to taste. The finished consistency should be smooth and bright green.