In like a lion and out like a lamb? Not likely. Look, I know Mother Nature is pissed about all the insults we’ve heaped on her, but snow in Seattle on April 1 is not my idea of a funny ha-ha April Fool’s joke. Mostly it’s been icy rain today, but for a few minutes everything slowed down like a phonograph on half-speed and the flakes started accumulating on my shoulders—while I was gathering dandelion leaves no less!
I guess this means we’ll have a long season for early spring greens. Phil the groundhog must be in exile.
In any event, I got enough of the green stuff to offset the audacity of the white stuff. The dandelions poking through the pavers of my back terrace are just right for the plucking: big rosettes of leaves without buds (yet).
I braised a handful of the dandelion greens in white wine (1/4 cup) and chicken stock (1/2 cup) with some chopped garlic for 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile in a pot I combined a cup of cooked cannellini beans with half a diced tomato and its juice plus a half cup of chicken stock, then seasoned with a healthy sprig each of fresh thyme and oregano, along with salt and pepper; this I simmered for 15 minutes as well. The beans got ladled onto a warm plate and then topped with the greens; a pan-fried piece of halibut (not caught by me, alas) lorded it over the veggies, drizzled with a quick beurre blanc of butter, lemon, and wine made with the pan drippings.
Not a bad lunch on a miserable day. The tang of the lemon married perfectly with the slightly bitter greens (think braised kale if you haven’t eaten dandelions before), while the flaky fish and creamy cannellini beans worked together with their textural counterpoints. This is an easy meal I’ll be eating again. By the way, the amounts above make enough for two; figure 1/3 lb of halibut fillet per person.
On a related note, while buying my fish at Mutual, I noticed they had monkfish for sale. I asked the manager about the provenance of the fish (since Seafood Watch says it’s one to avoid because of harmful bottom-trawling techniques), and he was able to confirm that it was hook-and-line caught. This is good news for lovers of the “poorman’s lobster,” such as myself and We Are Never Full. I think it’s important that all of us who love food (and the planet, by extension) should continue to ask these questions of our fishmongers and restaurateurs. We’re all in this together. Good on Mutual for doing the right thing.