Today was one of those days when it was necessary to use up a myriad of items in the refrigerator before everything went bad. I am trying very hard not to throw food away. Often I am too enthusiastic in my purchases when I go to the market and forget that I am just cooking for one. What needed to be salvaged? Dandelion greens, purchased from the same woman I buy bilberries from; shallots and garlic that had been waiting patiently on the counter for longer than I want to write; the rest of the cream and Topfen that I had stolen a few spoonfuls from for Sunday’s Pfannkuchen mit Schwarzbeeren.
Normally the appearance of dandelion greens, or Röhrlsalat as they are called in Styria, signals the arrival of spring. Rich in vitamins C and A as well as iron, the bitter leaves stimulate the digestive and glandular systems, acting as a tonic for the body after the winter. I find it troubling that so much energy and poison is devoted to destroying Taraxacum officinale when in fact it has so much to offer.
You can make a dandelion fertilizer for fruits and vegetables by putting the flowers and leaves into a bucket, filling it with water, and letting it sit in the sun for two weeks until it starts to ferment. Stir once a day. Apply to the roots. If you are fertilizing cuttings, dilute the mixture a little.
Savory Dandelion and Chard Frittata
I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite German words: Guss. The word can mean a downpour or the casting of metal, but in a culinary context, it refers to an amount of fluid that is poured over something else, basically the wet ingredients that are poured into the dry ingredients. I like how there is a separate word for this. I vote for appropriating another English word to refer to the wet ingredients. Any suggestions?
1 Tbs olive oil
5 cloves garlic
100 g dandelion greens, chopped
A handful of Swiss chard, chopped
200 ml (1 cup) heavy cream
250 g Topfen or ricotta
leaves from 3 sprigs of savory
Butter a quiche or tart pan.
Sauté the shallots and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add the chopped greens, cover, and cook until wilted. Transfer to the quiche pan.
Prepare the Guss by mixing the remaining ingredients together. Pour over the vegetables in the quiche pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes at 200°C (400°F) until the top is golden.
Serve with good bread and red currant jam or another tart relish.
Recommended reading: Storl, Wolf-Dieter. Heilkräuter und Zauberpflanzen zwischen Haustür und Gartentor. Knaur, 2007.