Market Update: Dandelions with pancetta

10 May 2012 § 6 Comments

I love this time of year. Each week the Farmers’ Market is slightly more colorful than the previous week. The choice of fresh produce seems to grow slightly each visit until it then explodes around mid June into a cornucopia of colorful fruit and vegetables.

Right now though green is most definitely in. It is so refreshing after the winter’s abundance of root vegetables. Last weekend there were fresh dandelions, herbs and asparagus aplenty.

I bought some dandelions and was pondering the best way to cook them. One of the stalwarts of the Montclair Farmers’ Market, the ever-helpful, Anthony Vacchiano, of Vacchiano Farms suggested frying in olive oil with some pancetta for a quick and easy side dish.

As the dandelions started to wilt I sprinkled a few drops of water and seasoned with salt and pepper. They were slightly bitter but The Ladies™ and King Marv finished the lot. If you don’t have pancetta add finely chopped bacon as well as adding more flavor, it adds a nice textural contrast. There was no need to steam the dandelions first although that would definitely reduce any bitterness. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C and K. and are good sources of calcium, potassium and manganese.  Another good reason to eat your greens.

Montclair Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday from 8am to 1pm at the Walnut St Station.


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