Dandelion Greens with Sautéed Mushrooms

Have you ever gone to the farmers market, and laid eyes on a vegetable and thought “that looks interesting let me try it?” We’ll that’s what happened to me this Sunday. I walked up to my favorite herb stand to get my usual arsenal of fresh herbs, and I stumbled upon some fresh dandelion greens. Sometimes I get so inspired by fresh veggies at the farmers market. I love trying new things. My love of trying new things can result in an amazing dish, as in this one, or a not so amazing dish. I had heard of dandelion greens before, but I had no clue how to cook them. So once the excitement of using this new leaf wore off, I was left to figure out what to do with these dandelion greens. I tasted the raw leaves…Big mistake! They are as my daughter would say “super duper, bitter.” They almost remind me of bitter gourd/melon.  But even these greens are not as bitter as bitter melon. I Googled them and found that dandelion leaves are actually weeds. You know those weeds that are growing in your vegetable garden? Yes those weeds, they’re edible…who knew? I decided I wanted to mellow out the bitterness, the best way to do that is to cook them. I got out some Crimini mushrooms, because mushrooms always make greens better, and some garlic and started my journey. I had no idea where I was going with this, but I can tell you that I ended up in taste bud heaven at the end of it all. Every element of this salad adds an additional flavor profile. This dish is filling, and gratifying on so many levels. I could eat it every day! If you can’t find dandelion greens, try substituting a hearty bitter green like beet greens, turnip greens or chard.

Here’s what you need:
1 bunch of organic Dandelion leaves, cut with bottom stems removed
10 ounces of Crimini Mushrooms sliced
2 Large cloves of garlic chopped finely
Handful of walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup of fresh cherry tomatoes sliced in half, I used fresh tomatoes from my garden
1/3 cup of goat cheese, or more if you are so inclined
1 teaspoon of butter
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 of a small lemon
2tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Warm the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan:

Once you can smell the garlic (20 seconds), add in the mushrooms:

Salt the mushrooms and allow to cook until just before the water from the mushrooms evaporates(5-7 minutes). Add in the tab of butter, and allow the mushrooms to brown and take on a bit of color. This step is important don’t skip it! Browning releases Unami flavor.

After the mushrooms have taken on some color add in the dandelion greens.

Sauté until wilted, then add in the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice:

Mix well, add in the tomatoes, toss for about a minute, turn off the fire:

Add in walnuts, and cheese, toss, season with salt and pepper and serve. This would also be good cold, but served warm this salad is super comforting and satisfying!

What have been some interesting farmers market finds for you?

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