Dandelion Bloody Mary
Spring is revealing itself in fits and starts. We're being blessed with a pattern of sunny days broken up by a weekly storm of a few days. The moisture is badly needed here, so we'll take what we can get, even if it means snow and cold temps. Last year in mid-April, the growing time was in full swing. We'd been picking asparagus for a month, and most of the spring plants were at their peak. This year, the plants are just starting to wake up, and keep getting beaten back by frigid temps.
Tonight, I had to prepare for another round of snow, which will be visiting us over the next three days. I mulched over my sprouting plants, and picked enough greens to get me through until the snow melts and they decide to grow again. Included in my night's harvest were three (entire) dandelion plants from the garden. I let the dandelions grow in my garden until they are threatening to get too big, or until they get in the way of something else that is popping up.
Over the next few days, as I watch the snow outside, I'll cook my dandelions in whichever way strikes my fancy. I'm guessing there will be an omelet and pizza made with dandelion. And I might just make another batch of dandelion bloody marys because they are just so darned tasty.
If you are someone who wants to eat dandelions, but are put off by their bitterness, this might well be your recipe. The spicy salty drink stands up well to the dandelion greens, and you can add fairly substantial amounts of the leaves without the beverage getting overwhelmed by bitterness.
I originally got the idea for this recipe from Discovering Wild Plants by J. Schofield, which had a recipe for a dandelion cocktail that used tomato juice, wooster and hot sauces, in addition to the dandelions. I decided to twist that recipe into a bull-blown bloody mary, and pump it up with all sorts of wild goodies. Drink it virgin or boozy. Also, I think dandelion bloody mary mix would be amazing as a sauce or soup with shrimp.
Dandelion Bloody Mary
4 c. tomato juice
1 tsp. ground sumac (or the juice from one lemon)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. finely grated evening primrose root (or horseradish)
1 tsp. hot sauce
6-9 small lovage leaves (or 3x as many celery leaves)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
a big handful of young dandelion leaves
Whiz up all of the ingredients in a blender until they are liquified. Mix with vodka, if you so desire (it's fab without!), and serve over ice with a garnish of your choice (I like a few dandy leaves and a sprig of lovage).