Over the weekend Marty and I took a stroll down to Lake Washington through our neighborhood park. Dandelions were everywhere, big clumps of them, most without buds—in other words, salad greens prime for the picking. If your palate is sensitive to bitter tastes, it's essential to find dandelions that haven't budded. We brought home a tote bag's worth.
I'm not a big fan of warm salads. The other night we had dinner at a new restaurant in Seattle, and though my main was good, I thought the salad of warm spring greens (foisted on me by my dinner companions) was sacrilege. I want my tender young lettuces upright and crisp, not soggy and slumped over.
But there is one warm salad I'll walk miles for. We've been making a version of it with spinach for many years now, thanks to a recipe shanghaied from our friend Kathy. Our stash of dandelions seemed like an obvious fit on this occasion.
Kathy's Wilted Salad
6 cups dandelion greens (or spinach)
2 cups basil leaves
3-4 oz prosciutto, diced
1/2 cup pine nuts
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Mix the greens in a large salad bowl. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add pinenuts and garlic, stirring occasionally. When pinenuts start to brown, add prosciutto and cook one more minute. Pour contents of skillet over salad greens and toss with parm. Season if necessary.