where the wild things are. dandelion butter. frittata of the things winter left behind.

By the time we got upstate this year summer was nearly around the corner. Though I have mentioned before that spring comes late to our side of the mountain, this winter was especially brutal. By memorial day, most but not all of the ramps were beginning to wither back. The dry spring had mostly eradicated the wild watercress along our various springs which are running feebly at best this year. I picked what I could that winter had been kind enough to leave behind, big piles of dandelion blossom, dandelion leaves, wild mustard greens, wild mustard flower, chives, spring garlic,  wild mint, sorrel and ramp leaves. I set the dandelion blossom aside for butter and washed the rest of the greens. I chopped the bulbs of spring garlic and mixed them into the greens. I put  a generous dose of olive oil on the bottom of a heavy large cast iron frying pan and then I  piled the greens on top. I whisked up a dozen eggs, their yolks a bright yellow, added about a half a cup of grated pecorino, a dash of celtic sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.


I poured the egg mixture over the greens and set on Julian’s mid heat Aga burner covered for ten minutes or so. I watched it carefully so the bottom would not burn. I am not super used to cooking with an Aga so it took a little extra watching and patience. When the eggs started to puff up around the greens it was time to remove the lid and transfer the frittata  to the oven. I hit the top with a dash of olive oil and some more freshly grated pecorino before placing it in the oven. I cooked it in the mid range temp oven until it was just golden abot ten more minutes. We served it room temperature. The key to a good frittata is a dozen eggs and copious amounts of olive oil. The frittata’s from Puglia, where my grandmother was from are made this way. What's not to love about olive oil?



Frittata Of The Things Winter Left Behind


12 organic eggs

Copious pile of wild greens such as dandelion, mint, mustard, sorrel,and spring garlic.

1/2 cup plus a bit more of a nice olive oil

1/2 cup plus more for grating of pecorino romano

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Large cast iron fry pan







Dandelion Butter


Start by collecting a bunch of dandelion blossoms.

Gently pull the petals away from the tiny bulb at the base of the neck.


1 cup of dandelion petals

1 qt. of organic heavy cream

1 cup of bright yellow dandelion petals.

teaspoon kosher salt


Combine the heavy cream and the dandelion petals to a small blender.( I find it hard to scrape the butter from a deep blender)

Pulse on high speed for two minutes or so until the solids start to slap the sides of the blender and clearly separate from the liquids.

Holding the butter in place tip the blender to drain off the excess liquids.

Pulse a few more times.

Remove the solids into a wooden bowl and the run ice cold water over the butter until it firms up a bit more.

With the back side of a wooden spoon work the butter back and forth against the side of the wooden bowl to remove any leftover liquids.

When done transfer to a container and serve.

The butter will keep it an airtight container in your fridge for a week or so.

I topped my butter with a sprinkle of pine tip salt.

Serve with homemade crackers or on a fresh pasta or your favorite bread.

I had it on she wolf bakery bread. heaven. sigh.





where the wild things things are no. 12. dandelion.

There is nothing quite like the first signs of spring. It is still relatively cold up here in the Catskills but the first signs of spring are all around. The woods are colored with vibrant green patches of ramp and the edges of nearby streams are dotted with clusters of wild watercress. In my own yard and bleak garden beds are a few renegade early dandelions. The name dandelion comes from the French word Dent de Lion, meaning lion's tooth. It is named so for it's jagged sharp tooth like points on its leaves. I decided to cook the dandelions I needed to pull from the garden beds and to roast the roots for a coffee substitute. The best time for dandelion greens, which are rich in vitamin A and C and Calcium, is when they are quite small early in the season before they produce flower buds. Later in the season they become too bitter. The early settlers used dandelion as a spring tonic to get a boost of the vitamins they lacked over the long cold winters.

My grandmother used to talk about eating wild greens both dandelion and chicory which grew wild in the hills of Puglia. I am not sure she really got her fill living in Long Island City. When she moved to Vermont in the mid 60's she was able to get clean pesticide free wild greens from the local farmers.

The whole plant is edible from the leaves to the flower to the roots. I sautéed the greens and made some dandelion toasts as well as a dandelion frittata. I then roasted the roots on a baking sheet until they were brittle and made quite a delicious coffee like substitute. In fact, I could grow to like the roasted dandelion roots very much.

You don't need a yard to get your dandelion on; they are available in the spring at most farmers markets. I saw they were starting to turn up the past few weeks at the Union Square Greenmarket. Prepare them anyway you would sautéed greens or make a pesto or a soup. The possibilities are endless. How will you get your spring tonic on?

I will post recipies in the next few days..but really this is meant to inspire whatever dandelion recipe you can conjure up!