My Grandma's easy and delicious Spicy Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Capicola are so good you'll forget you're eating healthy food!
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So, I know I posted cookies yesterday...ya know, on the second day of January. When we're all supposed to still be deeply invested in our New Year's resolutions. I'm still looking for a gym I can not go to 3 days per week...
That being said, I'm a firm believer in enjoying everything in moderation. So i can sleep well tonight feeling ok with the fact that I started a cooking challenge that is based around cookies for this first month of the year because I also balance all that cookie eating out with healthy foods as well (PS- you should totally get in on the January cooking challenge- it's so much fun to get creative and there are some sweet prizes for one lucky winner at the end of the month!).
Which brings me to today's post: Dandelions. Now if you weren't raised in an Italian-American family or in general didn't grow up viewing dandelions as anything other than weeds, you're probably giving me a major side-eye, if you're even still reading this (in which case I applaud you for keeping an open mind enough to continue reading, even if it's accompanied by that side-eye).
What many people don't know is Dandelion greens are actually pretty tasty. And I'm not talking about the yellow "flower" that your toddler plucks from your lawn and hands to you, or later blows the seeds off of while they make a wish. But the green leaves that grow with them.
Now, this is the point in the post where I will strongly encourage you not to go out into your yard and start picking dandelions for dinner. Not only because it's the dead of winter and where I am, everything is covered in snow. But also, because most lawns have some sort of chemicals and fertilizers on them. Not to mention any number of other things. Just don't. But you could probably find some nice, big bunches of Dandelion greens at your local supermarket or farmer's market!
My Grandma Rosie and all the other fabulous ladies in my family have been making these for as long as I can remember. I filed these under foods-I-thought-I-didn't-like-until-I-actually-tried-them. Like other kids, I saw green and assumed they were totally gross.
But Dandelions are actually pretty delicious. They're at their best in the colder months. And while they can sometimes be a tad bitter, the spiciness of the crushed red pepper flakes and Capicola hot ham as well as the savory garlic flavor really elevate the flavor of these!
They make a fantastic side dish, but I have to tell you, my favorite way to eat them is spread onto a slice of fresh Italian bread. Grandma always had bread around in general and she always served these with bread. These are my idea of a perfect, light lunch!
Spicy Dandelion Greens with Garlic and Capicola
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 whole cloves peeled garlic take the tip of your knife and lightly poke it all over each garlic clove to help release the flavors
- ½ teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes or more to taste
- 4 ounces sliced Capicola hot ham cut into 1 inch pieces
- 24 ounces fresh dandelion greens well cleaned and ends trimmed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil over medium high heat.
- Add garlic cloves and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently (do not let the garlic burn- you can always reduce the heat if necessary!).
- Add the Capicola and saute a few more minutes until it begins to crisp, stirring often.
- Stir in the Dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow the dandelions to cook down, stirring frequently, around 10 minutes.
- Taste them for flavor and add more seasoning if necessary.
- Serve with Italian bread and enjoy!
One of my other favorite recipes for greens is this one:
I also love this recipe for greens:
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