Friday, 20 April 2012

Dandelion pesto recipe

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
Sea salt

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.  


Winnie said...

Love this idea!!! Always looking for new ways to use dandelions.

wildcraft diva said...

oouchh! hope it heals quickly.
Love the photos. Here we've had an explosion of dandelions (Italy) and now there are lots of clocks, filling the air with fluff. My hubby loves dandy salad/buds/cooked as greens but I haven't tried pesto yet!

Alice said...

Do you think dandelions and wild garlic would mix well in a pesto? Have been making wild garlic pesto with walnuts and was thinking of combining... but somehow it sounds a bit scary. Both are very strong.

wildcraft diva said...

Sounds tasty to me, but there's only one way to find out!

Melanie said...

I think it will work very well Alice! As wildcraft says - only one way to find out. xx

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