Dandelion Salad with Halloumi Croutons
Recipe By Joumana Accad
If your partner is a carnivore and after asking you “what is for dinner,” the answer is: “Dandelion salad with cheese,” there is a high likelihood of hearing grumbling or protests. Please hear me out. This salad has a heap of fried onion rings. The dandelions are coated with olive oil, making them taste rich and mellow. The halloumi croutons are buttery and chewy. The salad is served at room temperature.
This is a perfect dish for a summer evening. It is served (minus the halloumi croutons) at every mezze in Lebanon, with quartered lemons on the side. Some folks still make it with wild dandelions that were foraged that day. I go to the supermarket and get the organic ones if possible.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 bunch of dandelions
- 2 onions
- ¼ cup of pine nuts
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil to fry the onions and dandelions
- Butter to fry the halloumi
- 1 Halloumi cheese, cut in cubes (can be replaced with mozzarella-bocconcini)
- Salt, pepper
- 1 Lemon
- 1. Wash the dandelions well and cut off the tough ends. Boil a few cups of salted water and drop the dandelions in the boiling water for a few seconds until they turn limp (but not too long to preserve their vibrant color).
- 2. Drain the dandelions and set aside. Slice the onions into rings and fry over gentle heat in several tablespoons of oil until golden brown, stirring every couple of minutes and watching them to prevent burning. Mash the garlic with salt in a mortar and set aside. In a smaller skillet, drop three tablespoons of butter and let the butter melt and froth; at this point, fry the halloumi (or bocconcini) cubes on all sides till golden; drain on paper towels. In the same skillet, fry the pine nuts until caramel-colored, drain them on paper towels and set aside.
- 3. Squeeze the dandelions of any extra water and drop them in the pan with the onions and pine nuts. Add the garlic paste and stir to combine evenly into the greens. Remove from the skillet onto a platter, serve with the cheese croutons and some quartered lemons on the side.
NOTE: After slicing the onions, you can sprinkle them with salt to make them purge their water and fry to a crispier state. Some people prefer to cut the dandelions in one or two-inch pieces, which makes chewing them easier. Halloumi is a sheep cheese imported from Cyprus that is very popular in the Levant; it is sold in major supermarkets in the imported cheese aisle; it can be substituted with bocconcini (small mozzarella balls).