Dandelion Salad (Hindiba Salatası)

The taste of dandelions my mother picked selectively from the weeds from our garden many years ago has been active in my palate since childhood. After developing a curiosity for cooking, the name of this wild weed that tasted superb was a question in my head. I had guessed that it may have been dandelions, but to me dandelions were bitter weeds that are not very tasty. I purchased them every once in a while just because they were extremely healthy. One day, it was confirmed that the unforgotten weed with a delicious taste reminiscent from my childhood was indeed dandelion and I was not cooking it properly. The good taste of this green weed wasn’t being maximized. The secret was the way it was prepared. I remember every single ingredient in that dandelion salad my mother made when I was still a kid so, I decided to recreate it to acquire the same exact taste.

Most of the dandelions that were available to me at grocery stores and the farmer’s market were more mature and hence chewy. Luckily, recently I found young, whole dandelions not separated by the leaves at my favorite grocery store. The dandelions in my memory were cooked as a whole with all the leaves attached since they were young and tender. The salad in this recipe turned out to be almost free of the bitter taste and very appetizing.

2 bunches dandelions (approx. 2 lb)
3 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp paprika
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses

Wash dandelions thoroughly and cut off the roots. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the dandelions for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and run cold water over the cooked greens to stop the cooking process. Cool and drain. Gently squeeze the dandelions to remove excess water and place in a bowl. Add the garlic, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, paprika and the pomegranate molasses. Toss and serve at room temperature.

Note: If the leaves are tough, they should be discarded as they will be chewy. Young dandelions should be picked.

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