The thousand properties of dandelion, a wild plant that grows spontaneously in the flat areas of Sicily.
In the flat areas of Sicily, and in a completely spontaneous way, a wild plant, whose official name is dandelion, grows and is so-called because of the toothed shape of its leaves. Dandelion has many beneficial properties and for this reason, it is used for skin beauty treatments, for the well-being of the liver, to relieve various types of ailments, including digestive ailments thanks to the bitter taste of its leaves. Dandelion is also a powerful diuretic and hence the name derives from the peasant tradition, that is, “piscialetto”.
To define this plant, there are other names. Among these, the most frequent are dandelions, wild chicory, cardella or showerhead. The latter has a particular symbolic meaning, given by the fluffy ball that contains the seeds, which traditionally since childhood has been blowing expressing a desire. And like a little magic, the white bows fly away carrying the wishes expressed. In fact, it represents hope, trust in the realization of one’s dreams, and is also a symbol of lightness and innocence typical of childhood. Also for this reason its symbol is widely used for the realization of tattoos.
This plant is totally edible, flowers, leaves, roots. The new leaves can be eaten raw with a salad. And the more mature leaves lend themselves to cooked dishes. As our grandmothers taught us, to keep the plant alive it is advisable to collect the leaves 1 cm from the base with a sharp knife before the plant blooms. The flowers can be used for excellent herbal teas, to enrich salads or taste individually passed in batter and then fried. Its buds can be used as preserves in oil or pickle. Dandelion is an excellent ingredient for risotto, side dishes, appetizers, preparation of soups, and savory pies.
Would you like to learn how to prepare a simple dandelion recipe?
Let’s make pancakes of cardella and fresh ricotta!
1 kg of cardella (or other vegetables such as chicory, beets, etc.)
200 g Fresh Ricotta
50 g Grated Grana Padano
50 g re-milled durum wheat semolina
Salt to taste
Peanut Seed Oil
After washing the vegetables, cook them for 10 minutes in salted boiling water; drain, let cool, and then squeeze well with your hands. In a bowl, put the ricotta and work it with a fork together with the grated parmesan, eggs, and a pinch of salt; add the coarsely chopped vegetables and semolina flour; stir to mix the ingredients, cover with a plate and leave to rest for 30 minutes. In a pan, pour plenty of oil for frying and heat it; form the vegetarian pancakes by taking the ricotta and the vegetable mixture directly with a spoon and then slide it into the boiling oil; fry the meatballs on both sides until they are golden brown; put them to drain on absorbent paper to remove oil in excess.
Serve immediately hot, taking care not to burn yourself. The only risk you can run with these pancakes is that once you start you won’t stop eating. As we usually say here in Sicily they are “Mangimi, mangimi”!