In days not far gone, women folk meandered Middle Eastern plains during the spring months and, with a small knife in hand, harvested dandelion in gleeful appreciation. They carried it home, trimmed, chopped, and cooked a meal that offers both ease of preparation and high nutritional value. Today, we do not have to seek open fields or wait for a specific season, dandelion is available to us in the produce section of the supermarket all year round. Take advantage of it!
2 L (8 cups) chopped dandelion leaves and stems
125 mL (1/2 cup) olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
125 mL (1/2 cup) tahina (sesame seed paste)
75 mL (1/3 cup) lemon juice
10 mL (2 tsp) salt
75 mL (1/3 cup) water
Remove the brownish head part of the dandelion, chop leaves and stems into thumb-long pieces or smaller. Immerse in a tub of water and wash repeatedly. Place in a large pot, cover halfway with boiling water and put over high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, turn over once or twice, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain in a colander, spread out on a tray until completely cooled down. Pick up in handfuls and squeeze tight to rid of moisture. Transfer to a large bowl. Mash slightly between your fingers.
Pour oil into a heavy frypan and place over medium high heat. Fry onions until deep golden brown. Pour over dandelions.
Pour tahina into a small bowl, add lemon juice and salt and stir. Gradually add the water, stirring constantly. Pour over dandelions and mix well.
Best eaten at room temperature. Ideal for sandwiches in pita (Arabic bread).
Makes 4 servings. Keeps for 2 – 3 days in the refrigerator.
Note 1: Endive may be used instead of Dandelion.
Note 2: The above recipe may be made without Tahina. Simply add the fried onions along with lemon juice to taste.