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Eat Wild



salade aux pissenlits

Eat many salads?

We do in warm weather, and in summer almost daily. But I am not talking about those boring big soft lettuces or worse, those pre-bagged salad mixes locked inside plastic. Well, ok maybe sometimes we eat big soft lettuces…but plastic salad-in-a bag? Jamais.

When warm weather hits, when we think of salad we first look outside  and see what’s growing wild. Wild arugula, dandelion, red clover and purslane are abundant here, and I bet if you take a look, you may have a few wild greens growing in your own backyard, too. Wild greens are much more nutritionally dense than cultivated greens, and pack much more flavor.

Dandelion greens help flush toxins from the liver, which is a huge plus for bottle-of-wine -a -day people like yours truly. They contain higher levels of vitamins A and K than almost all other greens, can help dissolve kidney stones, balance your digestive system, and clear your skin. And these are just a few of their health benefits.

Yet, sadly, in the States I remember that many people tend to poison them so they won’t crop up on their freshly manicured lawns. Then they go out and pay for inferior greens. In France, however, dandelions, (pissenlits), are valued as a superior green, and the yellow flowers are also widely eaten, often battered and fried as fritters.

Dandelion greens are quite bitter raw, so a dressing of olive oil with apple cider vinegar and a hefty portion of lardons or bacon and parmesan cheese is a perfect match. (if you are a calorie counter, please keep in mind that bacon may seem fattening, but animal fat is a good source of vital nutrients, and greens without any fat at all cannot be absorbed by the body. I have studied nutrition daily for six years so you should listen to me.)

You could substitute avocodo or egg instead of the meat, if you are vegetarian, but olive or walnut oil is essential!

Blanched, rinsed in cold water and then sauteed is how I prepare dandelion greens hot, and cooked this way they lose almost all of their bitter component, and make a nice stand-in for spinach, but with more depth. And get this – they are FREE.

So I advise you to forget the grocery store and just walk outside instead. If you don’t know what to look for, ask me anything in the comments section and I will answer your question faster than you can toss a salad in a bowl. Or within 24 hours.


wild arugula (roquette)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. justapinchofsalt permalink
    25/04/2011 05:38

    beautiful greens! my backyard flooded recently after a hard downpour, and i lost my spinach. the bibb lettuce, romaine and arugula are growing strong still. i’m waiting for my tomatoes like an expectant mother waits for her water to break… at the organic supermarket where i just started working, i noticed walnut oil from a l’olivier… sounds divine! i may just have to buy some for my next salad.

    • Joëlle Laffitte permalink*
      25/04/2011 14:34

      Oh no I’m sorry you lost your spinach!
      I love walnut oil with walnut flavored vinegar on salads. It’s great if you can find the unrefined walnut oil because it is so full of walnut flavor. I think you will love it..let me know!🙂

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