Last week, during my weekly visit to see my Tayta, she pulled out some sautéed greens, Elet (علت) and a few pita rounds. I hadn’t had Elet in a very long time and was really excited to share a plate with her. As we were sopping up the greens with pita bread, I asked for her recipe and diligently took notes (in my notes app), but I had one problem. I had to figure out what Elet was in English. After sending a couple WhatsApp messages to my cousins in Amman, I found that those delicious sautéed greens were actually dandelion greens. Sounds weird, right?
When I think Dandelions, I think those yellow flowers that grow between the grass and weeds. The ones I used to pick out to make makeshift flower bouquets for my mom.
That’s not what I’m talking about here. Dandelion greens actually look a lot more like flat-leaf kale or Swiss chard. Each leaf has a sturdy spine that gives way to soft green leaves. Surprisingly, dandelion greens are sold at Wegmans and Whole Foods, so they’re not hard to find.
Does anyone else find it fascinating that Arabic food includes numerous veggies that don’t seem mainstream here in the U.S.? I still have a hard time explaining Mloukhiya to non Arabs. I now go with, it looks like creamed spinach, but not.
- 2 bunches Dandelion Greens
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 3 onions, two cut into long slices and the over chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- Fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemon)
- Salt, to taste
- Wash the dandelion greens very well (they tend to have a lot of dirt)
- Cut the stems off the greens and chop into large squares
- In a large pot, bring the dandelion greens to a boil, and boil on medium-high heat until soft (about 10-15 minutes)
- Drain the greens and squeeze out the excess moisture, then set aside
- In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup vegetable oil and fry the sliced onions until caramelized, but not burnt, remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil and add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent
- Add the garlic and stir in the dandelion greens until combined and soft
- Squeeze lemon juice over the greens and stir
- Serve with the caramelized onions on top, and with a side of warm pita bread