Dandelion Mimosa Salad (Taraxacum officinale)
The weather has been very mild of late and a few daisies and dandelions have been flowering and even turning to seed. If you look closely in the fields there are quite a few basal rosettes to be found.
Yesterday, while in Bologna I spotted Dandelion leaves for sale on a market stall.
Dandelions are called "Tarassaco" here, but they also have lots of common names which differ from region to region. "Piscialletto" is a frequent name, it means "piss-the-bed". Kids grow up believing that if they pick the flowers they will wet the bed. In season wild greens are often on sale at markets in Italy. Here they were under a "selvatico" sign, which means "wild". They were on sale for 12 euros per Kg. (Much more expensive than the cultivated vegetables/salad leaves).
I bought 300g of Dandy leaves as I haven't got time for foraging at the moment. They cost 4 euros, pretty expensive for a salad, but they are a superfood full of goodness, including calcium, iron, vitamins A, B and C, phosphorous and potassium. They are rich in fibre and contain a long list of compounds beneficial to bone, liver and skin health. Herbalists believe they help detoxify, boost immunity, can help to combat cancer, heart disease and age-related memory loss.
I really should eat them more often!
The only negative thing to say is that they can taste quite bitter and not everyone likes bitter salad leaves. Luckily these were very young and hardly bitter at all.
We usually eat dandy leaves with just salt and olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar and sometimes chopped raw onion.
This time I tried a new recipe for "Mimosa Salad" from an old book called "Amiche Erbe"(Herb Friends) compiled by Maria Luisa Candiago.
Usually Mimosa Salads have more egg yolk to make them very yellow, like Mimosa flowers or perhaps the yolk needs to be passed through a seive. I just threw everything on a plate. I would have liked to add a few flower petals aswell. I was a bit dubious because the dressing didn't sound vey nice, but I needn't have worried it was a success. My hubby and son loved it, but
My daughter wouldn't touch it when she heard that there was anchovy paste in the dressing.
However, she should have tried it, the dressing in this recipe really compliments the slight bitterness of the leaves and the resulting salad was filling and delicious.
Hard boil 2 eggs
Cut the bread into small squares and toast in the oven
Wash and dry the dandy leaves carefully
Divide them onto 4 plates/dishes
Pour 4 tbsp oil into a bowl
2 tbsp vinegar (I used organic apple cider)
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp anchovy paste
1 crushed garlic clove
salt and pepper
Whisk to form a thick dressing
Peel the eggs and seperate the yolk from the white.
Chop the white and crumble the yolk
Share the egg, toast and dressing onto the plates and serve