Monday, May 16, 2011

Dandelion Salad

At left is the first harvest from the yard, largely rhubarb and dandelions.

When picked young dandelions are tender and bitter, with a slender red stalk. Classically, they are often served with bacon, garlic croutons, hard-boiled egg, and vinaigrette.

Here's a variation on that theme.

Firstly, in addition to the greens, this year I gave the roots and flowers a go.  The roots have the same bitterness as the leaves, obviously with an added crunch.  The flowers are very fun to eat.  They have a slight sweetness

Instead of the classic hard-boiled egg I used a soft-poached quail egg.  When broken, the yolk runs through the leaves and tempers their bitterness.

The dressing was made with cider vinegar, a touch of mustard, a touch of bacon fat, and canola oil

Instead of bacon I used pig's ear.

I should tell you a bit about pig's ear.

When I make headcheese, I simmer the entire head of the pig.  To make the soft, creamy version of headcheese that I enjoy, I include mostly the jowl fat and the tender meat.  I exclude parts of the head that will conflict texturally, notably the ears, which have cartilage in the them.

Since they have been simmered extensively, these bits of ear were coated in seasoned flour and fried crisp.

At first bite, the fried ears are not much different than crispy bacon. Once you reach the centre there is the distinct crunch of the cartilage.  A very interesting eating experience.

This salad goes well with weissbier.


  1. In addition to enjoying them fresh in salad, I like chopping them up and throwing them in with braised lentils and sausage near the end of cooking. Makes a nice alternative to kale or spinach.

  2. " A very interesting eating experience" ,,, kind of like... biting your lip - hard? Just kidding... but it does not sound appealing. I do know that the ear is the favourite part of the roast pig all over the Eastern Block... and have seen many an earless pig hit the carving table off of the spit as a result, but: was it good?

  3. Martin, that sounds fantastic. Can't wait to try it (I assume you are cooking it for me...)

    Hi, Valerie. That's very interesting to hear that the ear is so revered in eastern Europe. I had no idea. As far a taste goes, it's really not so different than other bits on the pig. It's pretty fun to eat.