Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Cleanse: Wilted Dandelion Greens with Dried Figs and Pine Nuts Recipe

I was inspired to make this dandelion green salad in honor of the first day of spring. I love dandelion greens for their nutrient-packed goodness and liver cleansing properties, but I am not the biggest fan of their bitterness. I wanted to make something that mitigated the bitterness without destroying the beauty of near-raw greens. I came up with a wilted salad with dried figs and toasted pine nuts, and just a touch of maple syrup. The figs add sweetness without being cloying, and the pine nuts lend richness to this crunchy, and nicely balanced spring salad. It's easy, nutritious, and feels like a spring cleanse on a plate.

Wilted Dandelion Greens with Dried Figs and Pine Nuts

1-11/2 or so tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tsp (or to taste) maple syrup
One large shallot, minced
5 or six medium dried figs, cut into quarters
One large bunch dandelion greens, stems removed, washed, and cut into three inch lengths
1/2 cup (or more) pine nuts

Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and stir or toss regularly until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the minced shallots. Cook over medium heat until soft. Add the vinegar and maple syrup, and taste for balance. Add more oil or more vinegar depending on your taste. Add the figs, and cook slightly until they soften, about a minute. Lower the heat, and stir the dandelion greens into the pan and toss them around until just wilted.

Remove the greens from the pan, top with pine nuts, and serve immediately.

Serves about 4