Thursday, April 12, 2007
Remember my New Year's Resolutions? Well, one of the resolutions was to make rullepølse or the Danish cooked rolled pork belly. And I'm happy to tell you that as of Easter Sunday this can be ticked off, too. You can see a glimpse of the rullepølse below, and I'll blog about it soon. Meanwhile, let me tell you a little about what I served it with. As I used a rather fatty piece of pork to make my first ever rullepølse, I needed something sharp to cut through the grease :-)
My solution? A sharp salad of dandelion leaves.
On Saturday we did the annual egg-swapping/seeing-the-relatives trip. We paid a visit to K's mum, my Granny No 1 and my Granny No 2, followed by a joyous lunch at my parents' house together with my sister, nephews and my favourite auntie. At each place, we 1) ate eggs; 2) exchanged eggs; and 3) jarped some eggs. For example, Granny No 1 got one of my eggs, whereas I got one in return (egg number 6 on this post). It was also at the said grandmother's place that I picked up a small bunch of young dandelion leaves. Definitely worth trying - their taste is not so dissimilar to wild rocket leaves, and cost nothing at all..
Dandelion leaves (Taraxacum), as my newly acquired Estonian book on the use of wild garden plants in the kitchen said, are 3-4 times more nutritious than salad leaves. The ancient Greeks believed that dandelion aided digestion, stimulated appetite and increased sexual potency, and worked as a diuretic and as a tonic, among many other properties. The leaves are high on protein (2.4%), carbohydrates (7-8%) and vitamins C (30-70mg%) and E (7-8mg%) and betacarotene (7-8mg%). The fat content is insignificant (0.5-0.6%). Dandelion is cultivated in many countries, notably in France (Chez Pim wrote about pissenlit only recently), Spain and Portugal, but here in Estonia it is definitely considered a weed. A beautiful one, both when in bloom and after it (as on the above photo taken by K. last summer), but definitely a bothersome weed that usually ends up in the compost pile rather than on a plate.
The salad below was called 'dandelion salad, Italian style' in the book.
Dandelion Leaves, all dressed up
Adapted from Umbrohud tüliks ja tuluks, by Toivo Niiberg & Enn Lauringson (Maalehe Raamat, 2007)
young dandelion leaves*, washed and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
a generous squeeze of lemon juice
some fresh tarragon leaves
Maldon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Mix everything and serve. Goes well with something greasy.
* Soaking dandelion leaves in cold water for 30 minutes will get rid off the harshness of the leaves.
WHB: This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once.