Roasted Dandelion Root Rub for Meat
It used to be when I thought of eating dandelion, I'd first think of the bitter greens, then perhaps consider the bright blossoms. But it wasn't really until this year that I started playing around with the culinary applications of the roots. You see, when dried and roasted, some say that dandelion roots have a flavor similar to coffee (although herbalist Michael Moore said that this is an insult to both coffee and dandelions), so you can see how they'd have a lot of potential for making great recipes.
To prepare dandelion roots to eat, first dig them up, remove the leaves (and eat 'em!), and scrub them with water until clean of all dirt. Cut the roots into tiny bits, no bigger than pencil erasers. Spread the cut dandelion roots onto a baking sheet.
I think the easiest and most efficient way to roast them is to stick them into the oven after cooking dinner. I simply turn off the oven after making a roast or casserole, place the baking sheet with the dandelion roots in there, and leave them in there to dry with the door ajar. It only took me one night to accomplish the task, as it's quite dry here. But it may take two nights in a more humid environment. Either way, the point is to get them completely dried out, and slightly toasty.
Obviously, a food that tastes similar to coffee will lend itself well to all sorts of dessert applications. But I've got a meat tooth, not a sweet tooth, so I wanted to experiment with how roasted dandelion root could be used with savory treats. The first thing that popped into my mind was the coffee rubs that are popular for steaks these days.
Roasted Dandelion Root Rub
Generously rub your meat with the mixture, and let stand for at least 30 minutes. I used the roasted dandelion root rub on dove breasts, but it would pair beautifully with any strongly-flavored meat, from beef to buffalo.
Before grilling the rubbed meat, anoint it with a little lard to prevent sticking. The roasted dandelion root rub creates a fantastically flavorful crust over the meat. I served my grilled dandelion-rubbed dove bites on warm corn tortillas with a lightly dressed salad of dandelion greens and some queso fresco, because I'm into eating everything taco-stylie these days.
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