Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salad with Dandelion Greens, Ricotta Salata and Toasted Almonds

Bitter greens with tangy, salty cheese and toasted almonds combine for a salad packed with complex flavors.  This is a Lidia Bastianich recipe based on a traditional Italian salad.  Italian Dandelion plants have proved truly remarkable, surviving hot and cold equally well with no pest problems and an amazing ability to quickly recover after being harvested.   The greens have a distinct bitter flavor that identifies Italian dandelions as a member of the chicory family, which includes favorites such as escarole, endive and radicchio as well as chicories more difficult to find in the U.S. such as Puntarelle and Barba di Cappuccino.   Italian cuisine has a unique appreciation for all these bitter greens, and this dandelion green salad gets it just right.

Ricotta Salata is an Italian sheep's milk cheese. The cheese, sometimes called dried ricotta, is pressed and dried before it is aged, giving the cheese an unusual, almost spongy texture and concentrating the salty, tangy flavor.  This bright-white cheese is fairly dense but still soft, and is wonderful with salads, pastas and even flatbreads.  To create perfect shavings, chill the cheese well first and then use a vegetable peeler.

Salad with Dandelion Greens, Ricotta Salata and Toasted Almonds 


1           lb        freshly picked dandelion greens, washed, thick stems 
                       removed, and roughly chopped
6           Tbs     olive oil
1/4        cup     almond slivers
2           Tbs     red-wine vinegar
1           tsp      honey
                       Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/4         lb      ricotta salata, shaved when cold using a vegetable peeler

  1. Heat oven to 350° and spread almond slivers on a sheet pan.  Toast until golden and fragrant, 5 - 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside, turn off oven.
  2. Combine olive oil, 2 Tbs almond slivers, vinegar and honey in food processor or blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Toss dandelion greens with dressing, season again with salt and pepper.  Top with remaining almonds and ricotta salata.

Printable Recipe


  1. Ricotta salata is one of my favorite cheeses to use in pasta dishes, but have never used it in salads. You have convinced me to change that.

  2. Very nice with ricotta salata and almonds!

  3. I love the use of dandelion greens. Simple and delicious!


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