I am keen on those items that are literally "something for nothing" and help pad out our individual cooking repertoire and this recipe is making use of something that tends to be around for quite a bit of the year, but which really is best made using the sweet young baby leaves.
8oz Dandelion leaves
1 tablespoon Dandelion petals
2 Dandelion flowers whole for decoration
4oz streaky bacon
2 slices bread
1 clove garlic
sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
Wash and dry the dandelion leaves (choose young leaves rather than older ones as they are sweeter. Tear the leaves into pieces and pile them into a salad bowl then add the Dandelion flower petals.
Cut the bacon into strips and fry in a frying pan. Cut the crusts off the bread and cut each slice into cubes. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat the butter in the bacon fat and fry the bread with the crushed garlic until golden brown. Lift the cubes of bread out of the pan and drain on kitchen paper/towels.
Season the leaves with salt and black pepper and turn them gently but thoroughly in the olive oil and vinegar dressing. Add the bacon and croutons mixing thoroughly to combine. Top with the two whole flowers to decorate.(if available) Serve soon after mixing.
An alternative dressing for this salad is
5 fl oz natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
Make this salad dressing by mixing all the ingredients together thoroughly. When all the rest of the ingredients are ready pour over the dressing with the whole Dandelion flowers.