Without any notice, we suddenly have summer right in our midst, well at least that is what you might gleam from these high temperatures that we have been having – warm, toasty and full of bright sunshine. They do not quite keep up with fact that we are just beginning to harvest our first asparagus of the year. Along with asparagus, there is also the wild bounty of dandelion greens, rustic, unfettered with their touch of distinct bitterness.
The key with these very nutritious greens is to try to harvest them young and of course if you are doing your own foraging to get them just before cook them. If you have been following my column you can tell that I have used them fairly extensively and in general narrowed down a few things that they work well with – garlic, spicy red pepper flakes and chickpeas. I used them in this chickpea salad last year, and this pasta with Andouille sausage and yesterday evening when I was making some hummus, the inspiration struck to add some of these into the mix. Not surprising, they paired wonderfully with the creamy soft consistency of the hummus, in fact, the slight bitter notes worked very well with the notes of tahini to give you a meze with personality. Their taste reminds me just a little of the Indian fenugreek leaf, however these have a somewhat different fragrance. To keep up with the foraging concept, I added some green garlic to the mixture to enhance the greens of the hummus. This hummus tasted bold and bright, however the color does deepen and turns into a fairly dark green with keeping. One of the things that I like to do with hummus is to add some ice cubes while blending, a trick I picked up somewhere along my meanderings and this gives the chickpeas a delicate and creamy color. Just as a note, you can add any tender green of your choice if you do not have dandelion greens.
A recipe for hummus using fresh dandelion greens.
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup minced green garlic (bulbs and pale green parts)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped dandelion greens (about 6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 11/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (try to cook your own)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup of tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- Extra olive oil, Sumac, Pine nuts and Smoked Paprika for finishing
- Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add in the green garlic and the dandelion greens and cook for about 1 or two minutes until the leaves wilt.
- Place in a food processor with the salt, chickpeas, garlic clove, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, ice cubes and 1/3 cup water and process until smooth. It is ok for the hummus to have a little texture, most traditional recipes do.
- Remove and place in a serving dish.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle and finish with sumac, pine nuts and smoked Paprika.