Tuesday, March 22, 2011

dandelion italiano

dandelion italiano, a favorite of ours, was made last weekend for the first time this year. It is a tasty spring tonic food that clears out congestion by stimulating the appetite and making the rest of the digestive system, especially the gall bladder and liver, step it up. Taraxacum officinale cleans house in the body which is exactly what should happen in the Spring.

This is how I make it: Gather at least 3-4 cups of pesticide-free dandelion leaves. (Make sure you know how to identify dandelions before you even get started.) For this batch, I gathered about 7 or 8 cups of dandelion leaves, cutting the clumps at the base and leaving the roots to grow new leaves. Wash them really well and pick out the tiny bits of stray plant material that sneak in.

Bring a pot of water to boil, add the leaves and bring back to a boil. Strain immediately in a colander. You can collect this first water and sip on it while you continue or save it for soup. Then do the same process at least one more time. If it's later in the season and the leaves have turned bitter, I'll do this at least three times. But in early Spring, twice is just fine. After the last straining, let it cool down a little, give the leaves a good squeeze, and loosely chop.  Eleven cups of fresh leaves yield about one cup of squeezed dandelion but don't let that discourage you because a little goes a long way, flavor-wise.

Saute 6 or more cloves of chopped garlic in a little olive oil. Add the dandelion leaves and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, a tablespoon of tamari and 1-2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Season more if needed and serve at room temperature.

This was for a potluck so I buttered some baguette slices as a carrier food, but you could serve it with any kind of cracker or on eggs or meats or even by the spoonful! My version is based on Susun Weed's original recipe.

Do you make any Spring tonic foods?

Also posted at Food Renegade.

11 comments:

Debi From the Pacific Northwest said...

Oh my gosh, that looks so good! Yum! Not so sure I'd be looking forward to body cleansing though. I've had some very awful Spring cleanses with headaches and all. I think with going to school I might like a nice slow easy going cleanse. Nothing too dramatic. I'll bet your house smelled wonderful while you were putting this together!
;~) Debi

woman with wings said...

Oh, Debi -- it's actually very mild when used in a food like this, not like a cleanse. That's what I love so much about herbal tonic foods, they're in a form that our bodies can handle! It's like all the spices and herbs we use in the kitchen are actually giving us little doses of good medicine every time we use them, you know?

woman with wings said...

Debi, yes it smells like an Italian restaurant! ha.

Marie said...

What a great idea. Dandelion taste so bitter to me..this is a perfect way to hide that bitterness. Thanks!
:)

woman with wings said...

Marie, you won't even taste the bitterness prepared like this! About this time of year, I just crave this recipe.

helen said...

I agree about the bitterness, so must try this. You are definately adventuresome in the kitchen and i can learn alot from you. I know dandelaion, artichoke, and milk thistle together is a good tonic for cleansing the liver and the liver filters everything you injest into your system as well as produces unwanted cholesterol so it's a good medicine. I'm one for taking dried herbs so maybe I can start cooking with them more.I also love your black and white from yesterday. sort of like a big ol' yin and yang symbol which I just might do. thanks for the inspiration. Helen salo

woman with wings said...

Helen, thanks! I take adventuresome to be the highest compliment. I do love to use common dooryard weeds as food and medicine in keeping with the belief that the qualities we need for health are in the plants that grow naturally around us. And dandelion is here to stay so I better pay attention! Yes, the cloth is a simplified yin/yang, sometimes clean edges & basic colors are a relief to work on, you know what I mean?

Deb G said...

None of my dandelions make it past the chicken! Oh she loves them.

woman with wings said...

If I had a chicken, I'd be happy for her to have them, too! Still dreaming about that...does she like bindweed by any chance?

liniecat said...

Ive tried it and had it in pitta bread, thank you for the tip! It was very tasty and I am drinking the water as a tea, so should be on top form any day now lolol
Thanks!

woman with wings said...

Liniecat, you're very welcome and I'm so glad you like it -- yay!