Collect the dandelion into your fist and pull them to expose the base.
In Greek cuisine, horta (χόρτα lit. 'greens') are a common side dish, usually eaten cold and seasoned with olive oil and lemon. Lots of different kinds of greens can be used, depending on the area and season. Dennis's family uses wild dandelions for horta. You can also buy it at farmer's market or Whole Food, $2.99 for a small bunch. Why buy them when you can pick them for free?
Our result after an hour of picking. This will only make 8 servings of horta.
Cut off the root and separate each leaves and stems.
Discarding thick stems, flower stem, and damaged leaves. The flower can be used for tea, but that's just focus on making horta for now. For the larger leaves, you want to make sure it is not too tough. Bend the base of the stem and if it makes a nice crisp snap! sound, then it's good. If it is soft and rubbery, then you might not want to us too much of these rubbery ones.
Now, you want to wash these THOROUGHLY. Unless it is grown in your own back yard, you don't know what it has collected. Even if you picked them in a forest, there can have a bit of critters. In fact, mine came with a lovely zoo of snails, bugs, and spiders. If your sink is not big enough, use your bathtub. Let the leave sit in the water bath for a good 30 minute for the dirty to loosen and collect on the bottom.
Once they are washed, boil the weed in a pot. The longer you boil them, the more tender they will be. Just taste them once in awhile until they are at your desired tenderness. It took me 3 hours. Once it is ready, mix two or three teaspoon of salt into the pot. Then drain and use a tongue squeeze out the extra liquid. The leftover liquid can be made into a nutritious soup/tea by simply adding some lemon juice.
For the traditional Greek horta, simply mix ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of lemon juice.
However, I have a different sauce in mind. Here is my version of horta:
½ bulb of garlic (minced)
1 small tai chili
½ cup of lemon juice
½ cup of olive oil
1 tsp of salt
I mixed all these ingredients together and mix it into the horta. Chilled and serve. The final dish is spicy and garlic-y. Sort of like Chinese' marinated seaweed. Absolutely delicious. If you prefer something milder, use less garlic and boil them.
Dennis has already worked through a third of this before I had a chance to take any picture.
For showcasing Dandelion, I am submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food blogging event (created by Kalyn's Kitchen, now maintained by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once) with the goal of helping each other learn about cooking with herbs and plant ingredients.
If you'd like to participate, see who's hosting next week. WHB is hosted this week by Astrid of Paulchen's FoodBlog.