Spring is in the air! I can’t say we’ve hit super high temps yet in Boston, but it’s definitely getting sunnier and warmer. The arrival of spring brings with it so many changes – lots of openings and shifts literally and metaphorically. I talk more about the spirit of the season in this Opening Up to Spring post.
After a cold winter of eating sturdy, nourishing root vegetables and heavy, warming dishes, it’s time to lighten up. Our bodies start to crave spring greens, fresh fruit, and smaller meals. And it’s important to listen to the body and follow these clues about what to eat.
Spring greens are one of the healthiest foods after a cold and sluggish winter. They offer a mega-burst of nutrients, detoxify the body, and are energetically lightening. Dandelion greens are a particularly effective spring tonic because of their bitter taste. Foods that taste bitter are almost always cleansing and detoxifying.
Detoxes and cleanses are all the rage these days. There are times when they make sense, but many end up being too harsh for most people. Eating dandelion is a gentle and natural way to invite the benefits of detoxification into your life, without going to draconian measures. I try to eat fresh dandelion greens whenever I see them in the market or can harvest them myself. I also drink dandelion tea regularly to support my liver and help my body with its natural detoxification process.
Because dandelions have a bitter taste it’s important to prepare them well. Bitter flavors tend to taste best with fat, sour/vinegar, and spice. This dish combines all of those flavors and the result is wonderfully fresh and vibrant.
Garlicky Dandelion Greens + Farmers Egg Ingredients (serves 2):
1 large bunch of dandelion greens (I used a red variety in these photos, but green is just as good)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon ghee, butter, or olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
Directions (20 minutes):
Begin by peeling the garlic and slicing it into slivers. The garlic doesn’t need to be finely minced for this dish – nice big slivers are perfect.
While the garlic is resting, wash the dandelion greens and rough-chop them into pieces.
Melt ghee in a skillet and add the garlic and dandelions. Begin to saute on medium/high and stir regularly. As the dandelions begin to wilt (about 3 minutes) add the red wine vinegar and continue stirring. Saute until the dandelions have fully wilted and turned a darker green color – about 7 minutes.
Leave the dandelions to rest in the skillet and fry two eggs in a separate pan. Use a bit of ghee, butter, or olive oil so the eggs don’t stick and you can flip them without breaking the yolks. Cook the eggs lightly on each side so the white is cooked through, but the yoke is still runny.
Serve the eggs on top of the warm greens and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The yolk should burst as you cut into the egg and combine with the vinegar into a wonderful creamy vinaigrette.
In addition to the detoxifying properties, dandelion is high in potassium, calcium, and other minerals. It helps the liquids of the body move freely, which can release blockages and aid in flushing toxins out of the system. In particular, it supports the liver, kidneys, and bladder – all of which can benefit from a spring cleaning this time of year. Drink lots of water when eating dandelion to further enhance its detoxification properties.