Dandelions are known for the positive effect they have on the liver and kidneys as a cathartic (cleanser), preventing the formation of stones. They also improve digestion, aid in bowel movement and weight loss, function as a diuretic, and promote clean and healthy skin! Incredibly rich in trace elements, dandelions can provide you with long-lasting benefits if used as part of your steady diet of greens. You can steep the stem and leaves in boiling water and add some lemon juice for a refreshing, cold tea, and/or eat them raw — if you get by the slight bitterness, you’re golden. I prefer eating them raw in a salad with lemon and olive oil or as I did today threw them in boiling water and again, true to my Greek heritage, made a dressing of olive oil and fresh lemon! Outstanding taste, and best of all, everyone in my home devoured them!
To prepare dandelions, (usually about 10-12″ long); cut the stalk bottoms from the roots and discard them, cut into three (3) inch pieces as pictured above in my prep bowl. Next, rinse thoroughly three times and drain sand from the plant and leaf using fresh water each time. At this time discard any damaged or bruised leaves as well.
Using a good sized pot, fill it until it matches the amount of dandelions you have for boiling. Do not place dandelions in the water until water has boiled!
- Fresh Dandelions set to boil, drop your dandelions in and cover partly (allow steam to escape) with a lid and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. You do not want to over cook so check stalk bottoms for tenderness. Do so by removing a piece, allow it to cool momentarily and if you’re able to bite through it effortlessly then they are ready! Strain, but save the water, we’ll talk about that later*.
- While all of the dandelions are cooking, prepare a 1/2 cup of olive oil, and one whole lemon. In a bowl, as pictured, prepare the lemon oil dressing as follows: Squeeze juice of one whole lemon into the bowl, add a pinch of salt and grind in some fresh pepper 1/4 teaspoon. You can add more if you’re so inclined, but I go minimal on spices with dandelions because I actually love the taste of this garden green! Here’s what your Greek olive oil and lemon dressing will look like:
- Your finished dandelions should look like this, bright green, hearty and wonderfully full!
- As an option, you may, like I, want to prepare and grill some fresh fish, nothing like good old Omega-3’s to compliment the trace minerals of the dandelions! The Catch of the Day happens to be “Porgies,” a hearty white fish. These are prepared by gutting and scaling them and thoroughly washing them. A word of caution though, watch the dorsal fin! Extremely sharp and will lace the pores of your hand as if they were meant to fit! You will only need a light dusting of freshly ground sea salt and Greek oregano. NB- Greek Oregano is far more aromatic and very potent, so you will only need a small amount. It can be found in any Mediterranean or Greek specialty store.
- To grill any fish you will have to coat a pan (as pictured to the left) with some oil, this will not only prevent sticking to some degree, but will aid in keeping the flavor consistent. Avoid using too high a flame as you can see, I did, and the fish still stuck to the pan but it was so tasty and well worth the effort (see below):
- When serving grilled porgies, or any grilled white fish for that matter, take some of the Greek Olive Oil and Lemon dressing (latholemono) and dress your fish to taste:
Some other goodies you might consider to compliment this meal are the cucumber and tomato salad and a side of feta cheese.
- Please comment, and let me know if you tried this really great dish. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, tell your family and friends! Boiled dandelion water when allowed to cool makes a great tea or a wonderful liquid base for a veggie power smoothie when mixed with whey protein powder, ice and fresh veggies.
- Yours in health,
- Dr. Meimaris