The dandelion. Yeah, you know, that bright yellow flower better known as a nuisance. It’s probably one of the most common and recognizable varieties of edible weeds in the botanical kingdom today. Just take a look in either your front or your back yard. They’re there.
The name dandelion comes from the French term dent de lion, or lion’s tooth. It has a multitude of other not-so-common English names such as blowball, cankerwort, milk witch, Irish daisy, lion’s teeth, monk’s head, priest’s crown, puffball, faceclock, and, the best one of them all in my opinion, piss a bed (it’s an effective diuretic).
The entire plant is edible. A powerhouse of dense nutrition, comparable to most so-called super foods such as spinach and kale. Dandelions have been used as a culinary pot herb, salad green, and medicinal plant throughout Europe since the Roman times. My grandfather was from Abruzzo, Italy, and loved dandelion greens and wine. Most explorers brought dandelions to North America for use as food and medicine on their voyages.
Read also: Floral Feasts: Edible Flowers
Despite its deep-rooted history as a glorious culinary green, in our day the dandelion has become suburbia’s worst enemy. Even with this negative shift it is still considered a great source of food, beverage, and medicine to many that immigrated to the Americas.
Harvested year around in mild climates, they are rich in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and contains more iron and calcium than that go-to garden green called spinach.
The raw leaves of dandelion are super bitter, which is why my Italian grandfather loved them raw, boiled, stewed, sautéed, and especially braised in a little balsamic vinegar. Eating the crowns and flowers raw in salads or crispy tempura fried are my go-to dandelion preparations.
These nicely sized dandelion fritters are in a very light and lacy tempura style batter, making these party poppers hard to keep up with! It makes me feel proud to have weeded my neighbor’s yard of the most useful wild edible weeds known to man. Later that day I was fortunate and thoughtful enough to have served him his own weeds induced with a little weed, to make weeding more fun, of course. The simple MILF style ranch dip will have all the neighbors begging you for more of those crispy country fried front yard flowers better known as a nuisance. Don’t worry, it’s considered hip to eat weeds these days. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Country Fried Dandelions with Smoky Ranch Dip
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
FRY TIME: 6-8 minutes
YIELD: 3-4 servings
TOTAL THC/CBD: Depends on potency of products used
STATUS: Friggin’ bangin’ fried front yard favorites
- Medium stainless-steel mixing bowl
- Medium wire whisk
- Slotted spoon or fry spider
- Paper-towel-lined sheet pan
- Serving vessels
- Pint mason jar with lid for dressing
- Small mason jars with lid for dip
- Electric fryer or cast-iron skillet fry setup
Smoky Ranch Dip
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 Tbsp cannabis vinegar
- 2 Tbsp cannabis olive oil
- ¼ tsp cannabis pollen (if available)
- ¼ tsp each: dry mustard powder and garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp chipotle adobo (the puréed contents of canned chipotle peppers)
- 1 tsp dry parsley
- ¼ tsp each: dry oregano, dry basil and dry dill
- 1 tsp each: cracked pepper + kosher salt
Country Fried Dandelions
- 3 cups fresh picked dandelion flowers. (Make sure to pick big, clean, open flowers and carefully remove any insects.)
- 1 cup non-GMO cornstarch
- 1 cup organic all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp rice flour
- 1 tsp non-GMO baking powder
- 1 tsp + 2 Tbsp sea salt flakes
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups ultra-cold club soda
- Enough oil to fry (I prefer peanut oil)
Smoky Ranch Dip
Mix all in a blender until combined well and refrigerate (if possible, overnight). Stir well before serving.
Country Fried Dandelions
- Preheat oil to 350°F.
- Mix the all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, cornstarch, cracked pepper, and rice flour in a steel bowl.
- Whisk in the club soda until just blended (do not overmix).
- Dip flowers into the batter and fry in oil until golden brown and delicious, turning occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the crispy flowers to a paper-towel-lined sheet pan and season them with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sea salt. Repeat until all flowers are fried.
- Serve hot with smoky ranch dip.
More recipes from Chef Sebastian Carosi: