Dandelions are one of my favorite wild weeds. In Taos they all bloom at the same time, welcoming spring, (much later then say Northern California), a time when vegetation from the year prior is still grey and in hibernation, invading its yellow flowers into every possible place. While often overlooked, the Dandelion is actually completely edible and palatable, from the roots to the flowers. Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It's a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even some vitamin D too. It also contains protein, even more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years as a food and as a medicine to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.
The other night I cooked a private dinner for this wonderful couple and their friends for the wife's early birthday. A couple days before I had spoke with the wife about her likes and dislikes, to my surprise she hated sweets, along many other things, but I won't get into that. This was a bit of a surprise, who doesn't like sweets! I had intended to make a variation on a Tres Leches cake, often made here in Taos, and often made for birthdays, using this amazing raw goats milk. This was the only part I had planned out. She mentioned to not even make a birthday cake. I ended up using Dandelion flowers for a birthday course, lacking too much sweetness.
Dandelion flowers, earl grey, lemon
Being taken out of the comfort zone is hard for almost everyone, myself included, But the beautiful thing about being taken out of said comfort zone is that it makes you think and work in new or different ways. I am often trying to do so in my own work, pushing myself to do new things. Sometimes though, others help unknowingly.
This isn't exactly a finished dish, but it is one of the favorite things I am working on now so I thought I would share. Along with the flowers I am going to soon collect the unopened buds for pickling, and the roots for drying. If you happen to find yourself in the presence of this beautiful weed, in a healthy environment of course, I encourage you to take a second to smell and taste each part.