Dandelion Leaves, Poached Eggs and Bacon Bits

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Springtime's a great time to spice up your cooking and you can find fabulous ingredients at farmer's markets and even in your own yard.

Tama Matsuoka Wong is a forager for a top restaurant and an expert in edible plants.

Her book is titled "Foraged Flavor" and is all about finding edible plants in your own backyard.

Dandelion Leaves, Poached Eggs and Bacon Bits

If you don't want to serve poached eggs for a leisurely brunch, feel free to soft-boil them all at once instead.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound small to medium Yukon gold potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) young dandelion leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • 4 large eggs

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water, bring to a coil, and cook
    for about 20 minutes, or fork will pass through a potato.  Drain and let cook slightly.  Peel the potatoes while still warm and cut into chunks.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove the bacon, drain on paper towels, and tear or cut into smaller pieces.  Reserve 1 or 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the skillet.  Return the bacon to the pan, add the shallots, and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat, or until the liquid had reduced.  Add half of the dandelion leaves and the potato and cook, stirring, for less than 1 minute, just until the leaves have wilted.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with 4 cups of water and add 1 tablespoon salt and the distilled vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat so that the water simmers gently.
  4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the remaining raw dandelion leaves, toss with the oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Divide among individual bowls.
  5. Crack one egg into a ramekin or teacup without breaking the yolk.  Gently pour the egg into simmering water and quickly repeat for the other eggs.  Simmer the eggs 4 to 5 minutes, or until the white of each egg is set but the yolk is still runny.  With a large slotted spoon, remove each egg from the water and transfer to the top of a salad.  Remove immediately.

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