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Löwenzahn: Like a French Baguette Except Leafy and German!

At the Turkish market, I noticed a weird, giant plant for sale at a vegetable stand and my local-knower-of-all-things-German friend, Mandie, also didn't know what it was.

She said the name Löwenzahn translates to lion's tooth in English, but that wasn't much help. The farmer selling the produce didn't know the English translation either but he grabbed a small bunch and gestured for me to take it. Flattered and excited for free farmers market swag (i.e. vegetables), I bought some other stuff from him and nestled my new, foreign flora gently in my canvas bag. I felt super cool biking home with giant green stalks sticking out of my tote, like a French baguette except leafy and German!

Once home, I did a little Googling and learned that I had been gifted dandelion greens. Löwenzahn = Lion's Tooth = Dandelion. Obviously. However, these greens were significantly larger than any dandelion greens I've seen in the US. I keep noticing that many things here are smaller than in the US; our shower, the washing machines, the refrigerators, the cars. But, apparently it's the opposite with produce as I've seen cabbages bigger than my head and sweet potatoes as large as my feet (which most of you know are not small). I nibbled on a leafy bit and it tasted extremely bitter, like danger, warning, poisonous bitter. But throwing caution to the wind, I decided to cook them for dinner anyway and this what I did:

Although very bitter raw, the bitterness mellowed out significantly after cooking. Because dandelion greens are so powerfully flavored on their own, they can handle a lot of fatty flavors so I would recommend eating them with meat (fatty pork would be amazing) or something with a creamy texture, like cheese or sautéed eggplant. It would be great in this recipe that I love from the New York Times. But we just enjoyed it with a €6 bottle of French Merlot from the corner store, some tasty, left over hackfleish (ahhh, such a musical language), and roasted, foot-sized, sweet potatoes. Guten Appetit!

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