Yesterday, as I was reading my blog list, I came across Ken's comments of the day at his blog "Living the Life in Saint-Aignan," (see his blog listed on the right). He was talking about dandelions in the form of wine and eating them. I have experienced them both in this way.
What he did remind me of was a spring ritual that used to take place in our home as I was growing up. Always near Easter, the dandelions would be foraged by my mother. With paring knife in hand, many women in the Amana's would go out into the yards and meadows looking for newly sprouted dandelions. They always searched for these dandelions where no dog has gone! Some ladies in the village were better at foraging than others, and they were often kind enough to share their finds.
It had to be done early before they bloomed, because then the leaves would be too bitter. The tender leaves would be separated from the outer leaves which would be discarded. Constant washing, over and over to remove all sand and dirt was necessary. And then, chopped into tiny little pieces, very tiny bits. Then placed in a colander and rinsed again and drained.
4 cups prepared dandelion greens
1 tablespoon diced onions
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 cups hard-cooked eggs, chilled and sliced
1/3 cup cream or half and half
Dash salt and pepper
In a medium-size skillet saute onions in fat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Combine water and vinegar and pour both into skillet. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Placed sliced eggs in empty salad bowl. Add cooked dressing and cream. Stir and add salt and pepper. Allow dressing to cool and then toss in prepared greens.
I remember my mother always thought eating this once or twice in the spring was important as she called it an elixir after a long cold winter in Iowa.
I remember this as tasting wonderful, but it does tend to have a bitter flavor. It's always what you grew up with that makes such good memories.