Spring has come to Eastern Pennsylvania, melting the thirteen inches of snow we got two weeks ago. It is time for dandelion salad.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Dandelion here is a Spring delicacy. Although you can find in the wild, you can buy it at the grocery store. We eat the green part of the dandelion (although I have met people who deep fry the yellow top) and is delicious with hot bacon dressing. It’s fun to hunt for the first sighting of dandelion. Believe it or not, it’s highly prized.
Traditionally a Pennsylvania Dutch Easter dish, the dandelion salad was traditionally found around Maundy Thursday, also called “Green Thursday.” You can read more about this tradition here:
Churches in our area, especially in the heavily Pennsylvania Dutch areas, offer ham and dandelion salad dinners. They are getting rarer. I like to amp my gourmet by eschewing pork (which I still like) for fresh shad roe pan fried alongside the salad (yet another Pennsylvanian treat). In the Bethlehem area, I find both at Valley Farm Market.
It is a simple preparation:
Chop off the stalks below the leaves. Wash your greens very well (they tend to be sandy). I do this in my salad spinner. You want the leaves to be dry before adding the dressing. Once the leaves are dry, chop them into smaller pieces (they are hard to eat long although they are more photogenic this way).
Make the hot bacon dressing,
Pour the bacon dressing immediately over the greens and stir well. This is a preparation that shouldn’t sit too long so eat it immediately. I like my dandelion salad topped with diced hard boiled egg and freshly cracked pepper