Wilted Dandelion Greens with Garlic Confit
Americans love their lawns and hate weeds. In fact, Americans use upwards of 90 million pounds of pesticides on lawns yearly. Yet despite all the efforts made against them, weeds still prevail, resorting to popping up through the cracks in sidewalks if they must, along roadsides, and in garden paths. Their resiliency is part of what makes them so special â€” they are up for a challenge and continue to thrive despite adverse conditions. Dandelion is one such hardy weed, tenacious and determined to overcome all obstacles. And while many hate it as a pestilent lawn invasive, dandelion is beloved by children, herbalists, and bees and has been revered as a food and medicine throughout historyâ€™. In fact, European settlers purposefully introduced dandelions to the United States so that they could eat the leaves as a spring green.
12 garlic cloves (about 3 heads)
1/2 pound dandelion greens
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Peel the garlic cloves and trim off the ends. Place the cloves in a small saucepan or cast-iron pan; the pan should be just big enough that the garlic cloves can sit flat on the bottom without overcrowding. Add enough oil to cover them by half. Turn the heat on as low as possible. As the oil heats, the garlic will begin to smell delicious and turn a warm yellow color. After 5 minutes, flip the cloves. Continue cooking, flipping the cloves every 5 minutes, until they are soft and mushy. The total cooking time is usually 20 to 30 minutes, but it depends on how low youâ€™re able to set the heat on your stove, and the slower you cook them the better. If your stove will not go low enough and the oil gets so hot you think the garlic may bum, take it off the heat for a moment, let it cool, then return it. While the garlic is cooking, chop the dandelion greens into 2-inch pieces. When the garlic is done, transfer the cloves and the oil into a large skillet and mash them with a fork until they are broken down but still a little chunky. Turn the heat to medium-low. Once the oil is warm, add the dandelion greens, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring continuously, until the greens have wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute or two. Season to taste with salt and serve hot.