Friday, March 03, 2006

Keeping a Promise with Dandelion Greens Cooked with Duck Bacon

On Jan. 26, 2006, this site posted a recipe for a dandelion green salad with Pennsylvania Dutch Dressing by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi. It was taken from Elizabeth Schneider’s Unusual Fruits and Vegetables: A Common Sense Guide. Mentioned as well was that Ms. Schneider also had a recipe where the greens were cooked, which read “as though it could be a winner.” Like the dozens of recipes I’ve prepared from this book, it proved to be.

For that matter, Unusual Fruits and Vegetables: A Common Sense Guide has five recipes for dandelion greens, three where they’re cooked. The one for dandelion greens with garlic, intrigued me the most. It was the option for of using pork, chicken, goose, bacon or DUCK fat that made trying it irresistible. A half-pound of duck bacon---a specialty item worthy of a post here in its own right---just happened to be in the refrigerator.

The recipe that follows has been modified from the original to yield but two helpings. One bunch of greens from Whole foods Market that weighed only a little over 1/4 pound did the trick. And yes, five strips of duck bacon reads like a lot for cooking so few greens. However, it came from D’Artagnan as very thin strips in a package advertising “half the fat of pork bacon.” Less than half is my guess.

For anyone who likes the flavor of dandelion greens, but objects to their bitterness, here’s a final consideration mentioned by Ms. Schneider in yet another recipe. Some bitterness can be removed by blanching first.

2 servings

1 bunch very fresh commercial dandelion greens
1/3 teaspoon garlic
5 strips of duck bacon
2 tbs. beef, chicken, or duck stock
salt and pepper to taste (if needed)
hot pepper sauce and vinegar if desired to season

Heat bacon in a skillet; add garlic and stir. Add greens and stock and cook over moderate heat, partly covered, for two minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until greens are tender and liquid has almost evaporated. Timing can vary considerably, but expect about 4 minutes. If liquid evaporates before leaves are sufficiently tender, add stock. Season to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce, vinegar as desired.

from Unusual Fruits and Vegetables: A Common Sense Guide, by Elizabeth Schneider, Harper And Rowe, New York, 1986