If you are a fanatic for the perfectly manicured lawns then you are probably extremely wary about the ubiquitous common dandelions! Our early memories are probably those of threading the vibrant yellow flowers on a string to wear as necklaces or trumpeting on the stalks until the milky liquid stuck to the lips. The last thing we thought of back then was eating any part of the dandelion!
However, this unimposing little weed is quickly becoming a bit of a delicacy and is slowly growing from the soil as a mighty superfood. Fresh dandelion greens have a mild, pleasant, slightly bitter flavor and are available at many health food stores. If one would eschew chemical fertilizers and other lawn treatments one might consider controlling dandelions by harvesting them.
Dandelion greens compare favorably in nutritional content to other commonly consumed green vegetables, providing four times as much calcium, 1.5 times as much vitamin A and 7.5 times as much vitamin K as broccoli. This leafy green vegetable also contains twice as much iron and three times as much riboflavin as spinach, and, while spinach provides no vitamin E or carotenoids, dandelion greens boast 17 percent of the daily adult dose of vitamin E and 13,610 international units, or IUs, of lutein and zeaxanthin per 3.5-ounce serving.
It was not until I moved to Weimar did I learn that one could actually prepare not only dandelion greens but also the flowers in the kitchen. My best friend AK told me stories of how as children they would forage the fields around their house, filling baskets with the bright yellow flowers. Once home together with her mother she would cook the flowers for several hours with sugar reducing it to make a thick honey-like spread – Dandelion Honey!
As part of my project with the Thuringian Tourist Board (TTG) I learnt that Thuringia has a whole festival called “Mellichstöckdooch“ dedicated to this wonder-food. On an early Spring Saturday morning it starts with a hiking tour around several routes collecting dandelions as the route is followed to the festival. Once there cooks and chefs on-location in a variety of cooking tents prepare a plethora of thrilling dishes all made with the dandelion.
It was my friend AK who introduced me to the greens all those years back mostly for salads but slowly I learnt to use them often in pestos, Indian vegetable dishes and in frittatas. This summer I created this light and refreshing gazpacho for the TTG and am excited to share the recipe with you
Recipe: Dandelion Avocado Gazpacho with Deep-water PrawnsMeeta K. Wolff
Total Time: + refrigeration
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 cucumber (450g), peeled and seeds removed
- 1 bunch dandelion leaves (150g), coarsely chopped
- 1/2 avocado, peeled and coarsely sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoons sweet mustard
- 200g natural yoghurt
- 1/2 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons Lemon juice
- 100g deep-water prawns
- 2-3 tablespoons Creme Fraiche
- 1 bunch radish sprouts
- Place the garlic, cucumber, dandelion leaves, avocado, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and yogurt in a food processor and blitz everything until puréed and smooth.
- Season with salt with salt, pepper, Piment d’Espelette and lemon juice and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Fill the chilled gazpacho in glasses, place a dollop of of creme fraiche in each glass, top off with a few deep-water prawns and radish sprouts. Sprinkle with some Piment d’Espelette. Decorate with some dandelion flowers and serve.
Light, refreshing, cooling with explosive flavors of piment d’esplette, garlic and a hint of sweet mustard they add a fantastic highlight to the whole gazpacho. I top it with the deep-water prawns to give an exquisite finish to the dish.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy travelling to Vienna and London for my workshops, both of which were immensely fantastic – I am looking forward to taking you on a virtual tour to both with me soon. In between this I have been working on some magnificent photo jobs from, ice creams to oriental food, cakes, asparagus and strawberries and as you read this I am on my way to an exciting photo job that does have me smiling from ear to ear – I will be shooting some dishes for my favorite starred chef in his restaurant for a big German magazine – Der Feinschmecker. Wish me luck!
You might like these refreshing ideas from WFLH:
|Minty Peach and Watermelon Salad with Feta Cheese||Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon||Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Tomatoes, Hazelnuts and a Quince and Pear Vinaigrette|
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