Spring Foraging: Dandelions, and Bradbury

In Eighth Grade, one of my teachers asked me to do a book report on Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine.” I didn’t quite appreciate it then, but I’ve since reread the book a few times, and it’s just gorgeous. Because of reading that book, I have a strong desire to make dandelion wine myself. I tried once a few years ago, but added too much sugar, and possibly too much yeast, as the brew turned out quite saccharine and potent. This year, I’m determined to try again, and hopefully succeed. So today, I went to Buccleuch Park in New Brunswick, which is only about an eighth of a mile from my house to pick some dandelion flowers. Unfortunately, I fear I was a bit early; most of the dandelions haven’t flowered yet. However, the clover and lilies (which for some reason always make me think of funeral flowers, I don’t know why) were blooming away happily.

All was not lost. Even though the dandelions weren’t flowering yet, there were plenty of nice, small, tender Dandelion Greens and the fields here are simply overrun with Wild Garlic. So I picked some of both and headed home.

I took my findings home and decided that I would prepare them with some salmon that I had in the freezer. I gave the salmon a nice Hungarian paprika crust (the hot stuff) and seasoned it with salt and pepper and grilled it on my George Foreman Grill. Meanwhile I heated some butter and olive oil in a pan, chopped up some of the shoots of the (washed) wild garlic. Once the butter and olive oil stopped foaming, I tossed in some of the chopped wild garlic, then added the (washed) dandelion greens, and immediately took the whole thing off the heat, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Once the greens wilted in the pan, I plated the salmon, and topped it with the warm wilted greens. The recipe follows.

Salmon and Dandelion Greens Buccleuch

Ingredients:

* Salmon Filet, 4 oz
* Dandelion Greens (preferably foraged), washed, 8 oz
* Wild Garlic Shoots (can substitute really small scallions or chives), chopped, 1 oz
* Butter, 1 & 1/2 tablespoons
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/2 tablespoon
* Salt and Pepper
* Hungarian Hot Paprika, 1/2 tablespoon

Preparation:

1. Season the Salmon Filet with salt and pepper and dust liberally with the paprika. Place on preheated grill for about 3 minutes a side or until done to desired doneness (yes you can cook salmon to varying degrees of doneness).

2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan over medium heat. It’s done when the foaming subsides.

3. Add the chopped wild garlic shoots to the pan with the butter and olive oil. Then add the dandelion greens.

4. Remove the greens from the heat immediately, and stir until the greens are wilted and look a bit like cooked spinach. Season with salt and pepper and top the salmon filet with the wilted greens. Pour the butter and olive oil over both the salmon and the greens. Garnish with some chopped wild garlic shoots and perhaps a nice tall wild garlic shoot for height. Enjoy.

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