During the coldest of winter months, I try to make my visits to the Dupont Farmers Market coincide with when Next Step Produce is there. They set up their tables every other week during winter, and they continually surprise me with their selection of organic produce.
Whether they be vegetables I’ve never heard of, or tubers I’ve never tried before, I always come away with something which I am eager to prepare.
This past Sunday, I was a bit crestfallen when I found out that Next Step would not be carrying sunchokes, or Jerusalm artichokes until next November. Recently, I tried them for the first time and made an easy and delicious soup. I will miss them (unless I spot them at Whole Foods or the like) but another intersting bit of greenery caught my eye-red Italian dandelion.
Last night, I made a traditional steakhouse dinner, with a twist. Instead of a Porterhouse or NY Strip, I used an inexpensive Flank steak, with dill gnocchi and instead of creamed spinach, I served wilted dandelions. The dressing for the dandelions was a sweet and sour bacon dressing, which tempered the chicory taste while enhancing the verdant flavor of the dandelion.
Here’s a really simple recipe for the dressing, which you could use on spinach and many other greens for wilting.
Wilted Dandelion Salad with Sweet and Sour Bacon Dressing
- 1 bunch dandelion or other greens such as mustard greens, turnip greens or spinach
- 3 strips of bacon, cooked-reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- pinch of salt
To a pan, add bacon drippings, vinegar, sugar, honey and salt and heat gently until sugar is melted and desired balance of sweet and sour is achieved. You can increase the amount of sugar or honey to balance the vinegar. I found this approximate amount to be just right for me. Pour the dressing over your greens and toss to coat. Allow the warm dressing to wilt the greens for about 1 minute.
Serve with crumbled bacon over top if you like.