People generally love or hate dandelion greens. Whether picked from your (non-sprayed) yard or purchased at the market, dandelion leaves are some of the most nutritious vegetables around, full of Vitamins A, C, K, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. They can also be bracingly bitter.
For years I avoided dandelion, but in an attempt to embrace bitter flavors, I've discovered some tricks to taming the pungency and truly enjoying these nutritious greens. My strategy: choose the most tender leaves possible, blanch them, and combine them with buttery, smoky, and acidic ingredients — like the potatoes, olive oil, smoked paprika, and vinegar you see in this recipe. The result is a well-balanced side dish, or even a great main if you add a fried egg on top.
Smoky, Garlicky Potatoes and Dandelion Greens
1 pound red-skinned potatoes
1/2 pound dandelion greens
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes and a generous pinch of salt in a large saucepan with water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife (10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes). Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and cool them to room temperature. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices (if they are particularly large you may wish to halve them first).
Have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring the potato cooking water back up to a boil (if too much water has evaporated, add extra water to the pan). Blanch the dandelion greens for about 30 seconds until they are bright green and just wilted. Transfer the greens to the ice water to stop cooking. Drain the greens, squeezing out excess water. Cut the greens into 1-inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and smoked paprika and sauté for a minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat. Add the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a good crack of black pepper, the potatoes, and dandelion greens to the saucepan and gently toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Serve warm or cold.