Baby dandelion greens, when available, are a real treat. When just tender greens reside under a roof of crispy cumin-scented and ghee-laced shallots, ordinary weeds enter the realm of sublime. Try experimenting with unusual finishing salts in this dish. We used Barlique Chardonnay finishing salt and it added a lingering perfume to the topping.
Greens with Crisp Shallots
Wash dandelion greens and place in a heavy saucepan. Add 1/2 C water, cover and place over medium high heat. After 5 minutes, check to see if water has evaporated and add a tiny bit more if necessary. As soon as greens are bright green, test for tenderness. The greens should be lightly cooked, but chewable. Uncover, transfer to a serving dish, leaving any remaining liquid in pan (an excellent health drink!). Set aside while you prepare the topping.
In a heavy small sauté pan (cast iron works beautifully), melt ghee or butter in olive oil until just bubbling. Add shallots and stir to coat with oil. Turn heat to medium and allow shallots to begin browning, stirring occasionally. While shallots are cooking, smash cumin seeds and sea salt together in a mortar and pestle. The cumin seeds should be very fragrant. When shallots are lightly browned, add seasonings and stir to mix. Finish browning and scrape contents of pan over the top of the greens and serve immediately. Greens will be a warm room temperature, perfect for full flavor.
Note: Any kind of young, tender organic green will work beautifully in this recipe. Try spinach, young chard greens, tatsoi, frisée, endive, purslane, or lambs quarters. Kale, collards and other tougher greens will need longer cooking and will be stronger tasting. But the topping still works. If you can find dandelion greens that are a maximum of 6 inches in total length, you are in for a real treat!