Dandelions are 100% edible: flowers, leaves and roots. According to PFAF:
- the flowers buds can be used as fritters, or like capers, after preserving in vinegar; the flowers can be eaten either raw or cooked, with a rather bitter taste, or made into tea; with the petals you can make wine.
- leaves can be eaten both raw and cooked, and are rather nutritious; they can also used to flavour beer and soft drinks, as well as
- the roots, also used as flavouring, or as a coffee substitute (I remember my auntie using it, either on its own or to bulk up her arabica).
|Dandelion at the front, catalogna at the back
The other day I was picking my chicory catalogna, and next to it was a dandelion head, lush as I had never seen one.
The differences between the two leaves were small (in fact in Italy we call dandelion "false chicory": cicoria matta), they can be used in the same way. And they are for free.
I though it would be silly not to pick them. Blanched them, and they were nice, not even the husband complained.
So I picked a bag full of dandelion the next time I was on the plot.
And here is where my bread post from last night comes in. I decided to make a pie with the dandelion, using some bread dough I had ready.
Focaccia ripiena with dandelion leaves
The dough was made with 150 g wholemeal rice to 525 g plain white flour: I used 2/3 to make pizza for dinner, and the remaining 1/3 I decided to fill with the dandelion (perfect as packed lunch).
First of all, I added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the dough and let it rise a bit longer, while I prepared the greens (inspired by this Italian catalogna recipe).
I blanched the dandelion, then light-fried some onion in extra virgin olive oil, with capers, olives and anchovies (those preserved in olive oil), and threw it in, giving a good stir until the flavours had soaked through.
Two thirds of the dough I used as a base, in a cake tin, greased with some oil. The remaining third of the dough, rolled with a pin, made up the pie top.
180°C, 40 mins in regular oven (20 or so in ventilated) and... VOILA!