This morning my good friend and fellow basket weaver, from North Carolina wrote me to ask me about gathering dandelion greens and if I knew anything about it. That prompted me to think back to childhood when we did gather them and thought this would make a good post today.
When I was growing up in the 1960’s, as kids we were often given a knife in the early spring and asked to go out and pick young and tender dandelion greens for salads and for side dish made with a hot bacon dressing, much like in later summer when grandma would fix the same dish with Endive from the garden.
You can still do this today if you know of a lawn or field that no weed killers have been used on.
WILTED DANDELION or ENDIVE GREENS
4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 cup milk
Salt and ground pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3 cups packed young dandelion greens
Fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, add onions to the drippings and sautee.
Add the flour to make a roux and brown slightly, add the vinegar and water, milk (we generally used heavy cream or half & half. Salt and pepper to taste. This will thicken and form a dressing (the milk or cream will look curdled at first) due to the vinegar but will be just fine.
Add the 3 cups on Dandelion or Endive Greens and stir into the dressing to coat, cover for a brief minute or two and allow to wilt.
Add the crumbled bacon and the chopped boiled eggs and mix gently
This recipe can be made with Spinach as well.
ENDIVE THE FORGOTTEN GREEN
In this area the Shenandoah Valley everyone that I have asked about growing Endive, most say OH, we used to grow that when I was young but have not for years! As a child my grandparents and greatgrand mother all had beds of Endive (a form of chickory) it is very nutritious and high in vitamins and minerals. Also forgotten but not important here is the Salsify (Oyster Plant) how well I remember the long rows of Salsify!
While researching online it seems that it still popular (just not locally, I guess)
For more information on Escarole or Endive, and nutritional information see: