Bear with me! I know you read that title and thought to yourself, "Ok … Tammy has really gone off the deep end now!" Truly, you'll be intrigued to try this salad by the time you get to the end. Just trust me and keep reading.
When we lived in Albertville, France, when I was a teenager (I clarify that only because I lived there as a younger child as well), Pierre and Chantal offered to show us how to make dandelion greens salad. I remember how strange that sounded to me because every American I know eradicates them from their lawns with pesticides! In America, they were considered a weed and no one wanted the havoc they wreak to an otherwise pristine lawn!
Mom invited Pierre and Chantal over, along with their four kids, and they made one of the tastiest and easiest salads for us.
Of course, we had to harvest the dandelion greens first so we went into the orchard behind our house where they were beyond abundant. They taught us to cut the ones whose flowers had not yet started to form in the middle, saying that they would be more tender and less bitter. This means that the best dandelion greens salad will be made in the Spring when they are young.
Then they boiled small red potatoes and diced them …
… and eggs …
… cooked some bacon, and mixed up a vinaigrette. Et voila … une belle salade!
You can imagine my surprise when, in recent years, I started seeing dandelion greens sprouting up (no pun intended!) at farmers' markets and at my local grocery store! Someone was actually making money selling dandelion greens! Why didn't I think of that?! I'm always a day late and a dollar short.
[It just occurred to me that if I wasn't a day late, I might not be a dollar short. Hmm … food for thought.]
Anyway, I did a double take a couple of weeks ago when I saw them in the produce section so I snatched those babies up for a trip down memory lane. They weren't the small, young, tender greens, but they were still good. One of these years, I'll figure out my timing and find an orchard to cut my own young dandelion greens from in the Spring, but in the meantime, it's nice to know that I can enjoy the greens from the market.
If you still think that you'll never put a dandelion green in your mouth, I suppose you could make this salad with spinach or some other dark leafy green. But I venture to say that you'll have missed out on an opportunity to try something new. You might just like it! As my mom says (and I hear myself parroting her!), "You'll never know till you try!"