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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dandelions and Fava Beans - Cicoria e Fave

Wild dandelions

As Italian children, who among us has not been in the meadows with their parents or grandparents to collect wild dandelions (cicoria)? 

Those days are gone and so are the meadows due to roads and housing.

Today, we grow chicory (Catalogna variety)  
in our vegetable garden.  

Not only they are visually beautiful, but their bitterness goes well with strong summer flavors. 

All photos - Copyright - ©2011 - La Casa e Il Giardino – picasaweb

The Catalogna variety is known as Italian dandelion.  It is dark green and it has toothed leaves.  It’s a “cutting” chicory in one of its most wildish forms.  The inner tender leaves I use in salads and the outer leaves I cook with fava beans or other mixed greens like Swisschard.

Mixed salad


Ingredients for 4 people

Dandelions – 2 lbs. (available in most supermarkets and farmers' markets)
Fava beans – 2 lbs.
Chili – one dried one, chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves
Olive oil – 1/3 cup
Salt and pepper to taste

Cicoria e Fave

Wash the dandelions well, cut them up roughly and put them to boil in plenty of salted water. Boil for 15 minutes or until the thicker bits are soft.  Drain.  In another pan of water, cook fava beans until tender.  Drain.  In a pan, heat the oil on a low flame and add the garlic roughly cut into quarters, the chili pepper, salt and pepper to taste.  After a few minutes add the dandelions and cook slowly for another 10 minutes.  Add the cooked fava beans into the dandelion mixture and mix well.