Dandelion hearts tossed with garlic, chili and anchovy, served on a bed of smooth chickpea puree inspired by the Foje M'bische / Fave e Cicoria of Apulia made with wild chicory. Serves 2-4 as an appetizer or side dish.
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian, Italian American
Keyword: Dandelion, Dandelion Hearts
8oztrimmed and cleaned dandelion hearts / crowns
1.5tablespoonsflavorless oil or a blend of EVOO and cooking oil
Good pinch of crushed red pepper flakesto taste
1large clove garlic
1/3cupbean pureetraditionally more puree is served, but I opted for a cleaner presentation here
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepperto taste
Wild flowersto garnish, optional I had a few sprigs of spring beauty
1 15.5ozcan of chickpeas
3Tablespoonsacorn oil or EVOO
1large clove garliccrushed with the back of a knife
Juice of half a large lemonroughly 2 tablespoons
Kosher saltto taste
Lazy bean puree
For the bean puree, pour the can of chickpeas with all their juice into a small pot and bring to a boil. Pour the hot beans and all of their juice into a highspeed blender like a vitamix or a food processor, along with the lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt.
If you are using a small capacity blender, make sure there’s a vent as trapped steam from the hot beans could make the lid blow off of the machine, or let the beans cool a bit before blending.
Blend the mixture, drizzling in the oil to make a smooth puree. If you have a vitamix, use the accelerator tool to help here. If you use a food processor, it may be difficult to get the puree as smooth as I have pictured, but it will still taste good.
Wash the dandelion hearts and trim them, snipping off the top couple inches of leaves which you’ll save for another purpose.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and season it with salt (roughly 1 tablespoon per quart). Blanch the dandelion hearts for a minute or two, then remove to a bowl of water (not ice water) and swish them around as a final defense against dirt. Remove the dandelion hearts to a towel to weep excess water.
Meanwhile, heat the garlic in the oil in a cold pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the garlic is nearly golden brown. Add the anchovy paste and stir, then add the chili flakes if using. Quickly add the dandelion crowns, stirring to halt the cooking of the garlic. Stir the crowns well to distribute the flavors.
When the crowns are heated through, check the seasoning by tasting one, adjust as needed for salt.
Spread 1/3 cup of the bean puree (or as much as you like) on a plate and spread it out with an off-set spatula. Arrange the dandelion hearts on the top, drizzle with a little oil to finish, garnish with the wildflowers, and serve. Some variations of the dish add croutons fried in oil for texture.