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Sicilian dandelion soup — my interpretation

April 17, 2010

An Italian friend of mine and I were discussing the meals of our youth (we are both American-Italians)  when she mentioned a dish I’d never had. Dandelion soup. I grew up eating lots of dandelion but it was generally sauteed in garlic and olive oil and then served as such. The simple sauteed dish remains my very favorite vegetable dish. We’ve been growing domesticated dandelion  for a couple of years since I love itso much and could eat it daily.

In any case dandelion soup caught my attention. We’d never eaten it. My friend told me it was Sicilian. I am not of Sicilian descent. In any case she told me it was the same sauteed version I make but then it’s thrown into chicken stock with egg and parmeggiano cheese.

It’s very early in the year in the part of the country I live in so our garden is not yet planted. I was lucky that just as I wanted dandelion there is a large amount of wild dandelion, otherwise known as weeds in our yard.

My husband picked a big bag of it. It wilts quite a bit once it’s cooked so I don’t know how to say how much I used, but I can assure you to use more than you think you need.

So this is what I did to make it. I am not assuming this is authentic at all. I only had the ingredients to go by and then I did my own thing.

  • 64 oz chicken stock
  • 5 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 a plastic grocery bag half full of packed dandelion (how’s that for a measurement?)
  • 5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • salt to taste
  • red chili flakes to taste
  • olive oil for sauteeing

I sauteed the garlic for a few minutes and then tossed in the dandelion. Sauteed until completely wilted.

Heat chicken stock to boiling. On a simmer start stirring the stock in a steady fashion while slowly pouring the egg in a steady stream. Stirring the stock during this process is important so that the egg cooks the right way. This part is much like my Egg Drop Soup recipe here.

Following the egg, put in the dandelion and then the cheese. Salt to taste along with the red pepper flakes.

Cross-posted and slightly adapted at BlogAsheville

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2010 9:45 pm

    I know that you can eat dandelions but I’ve never actually seen a recipe that calls for them! I’m Sicilian but my parents are super unadventurous eaters who know very little about Italian food at all, so I’m actually not surprised that I’ve never heard of this. I’m going to have to look out for dandelions at the farmer’s market! This soup looks delicious.

  2. April 18, 2010 10:11 am

    You sure have brought back memories for me. Growing up in a neighborhood with lots of Italian families I recall the house two doors down with stereo type image of the black dress, hair covered with a black cloth and ot picking the dandelions. She made wine and soup. She didn’t speak a lick of English but she sure loved having the kids come chatter to her and feeding us.

    Love your post!!

  3. April 18, 2010 7:54 pm

    I have never eaten dandelion. Wow, this is impressive that it is basically a weed that grows in your backyard. I have to pay attention the weeds in my yard too.

    I will need to ask my mother in law about her experience with dandelions. She is Italian American of Scilian descent and it would make for an interesting conversation.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!


  4. April 19, 2010 10:17 am

    My father in law is full italian and has intoduced me to some interesting foods. One of my favorites is a dandelion salad. Throw in some hard boiled eggs and onion and toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you are good to go!!

  5. April 19, 2010 10:41 am

    I’ve never tried dandelion, but this sounds wicked good. Did you like it?

    • April 19, 2010 10:51 am

      yes, I thought it was very delicious and will definitely make it again!!

      thanks everyone for comments…I had great fun with this one.

  6. Rhonda Smith permalink
    September 28, 2011 9:07 am

    We had a version of this soup every Easter meal, along with a pizza that had a crust on the top. I have carried on the tradition in my family. My 40 year old son loves this soup and makes it himself frequently. In the winter, when dandelions are not readily available, he uses endive with equally delicious results

  7. Karen Gleason permalink
    March 23, 2012 7:08 pm

    This soup is exactly as my Italian grandmother made. It is now possible to buy domesticated, farm-raised dandelions in better grocery stores. Blanch the greens (or they will be bitter), saute them as above, serve them as a side vegetable and then use the leftovers by putting them into the broth as described above. Cook once, eat twice. So good and so healthy.

    • March 24, 2012 1:07 am

      yes, you can buy store bought dandelions…I have no interest in doing that while I have them growing wild in my yard! But they’re delicious in any case, yes.

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