The fields are alive with edible greens! But I needed a new way to prepare them. As much I love greens, one can only eat frittatas, creamed greens, and greens with bacon but so many times. (Oh, and that’s just me eating them of course. My kids will have nothing to do with the greens, no matter how I cook them!)
Enter: Spring Green Fritters. What a great reason to harvest some dandelions and garlic mustard!
These green leafy fritters pack a nutritional punch, with garlic mustard and dandelions both serving up Vitamins A and C, as well as trace minerals. They make a great snack or appetizer, and the wild greens maintain a beautiful green color all through cooking. You can use any mix of greens in this recipe, depending on what you have available locally. You can even use domestic varieties – promise I won’t tell! In fact, I did so myself. I used a mixture of dandelion, mustard garlic, and Swiss chard which stubbornly clung to life in my garden through the entire winter and sprang back to life as the days warmed.
Here in central Maryland, dandelions have just started blooming, but the leaves haven’t reached the insufferably bitter stage yet. That will come later in the summer. What small trace of bitterness the leaves may contain vanishes when cooked in boiling water.
I have less garlic mustard than dandelions in my yard because I work harder to remove it. Always pull up garlic mustard by the roots if possible to help slow the spread of this invasive species. (I have railed against garlic mustard in the past so I’ll spare you this time!) The roots are also edible, and can be used for a horseradish like flavoring. I haven’t tried this myself because most of the roots I’ve encountered have been small and seemed like they would be even smaller after they were cleaned of all the dirt!
And yes, I hold more of a grudge against garlic mustard than dandelions. When I visited the woods a few weeks ago, garlic mustard was cheerfully invading every microclimate of the forest floor, whereas dandelions were only along roadsides (if anywhere).
Remember to wash the wild greens thoroughly, and avoid harvesting any from areas high in pollution or industrial run-off. (Although you should still pull up the garlic mustard, even if you aren’t going to eat it!)
I boiled the dandelion greens for five minutes, then added the garlic mustard and Swiss chard for the remaining five minutes. When boiling the greens, save the water for other uses! It can be used to flavor stock or broth, or depending on the green consumed as tea. While still hot, you can pour the water on weeds for an eco-friendly “herbicide”. (Just make sure it’s in a location where the hot water doesn’t flow to something you’d rather not kill!) Once cooled, it can be used to water plants. Fresh water is becoming increasingly rare in many parts of our world. Water scarcity may be coming to a ecosystem near you, due to rising levels of salinization, pollution from conventional farming and industry, and climate change. Learning strategies to use water more wisely now may help ease the transition to less fresh water in the future.
Even though it’s not my preferred option, I used almond flour instead of wheat flour to make this recipe primal (paleo + dairy). I contemplated hazelnut flour, but I thought the flavor might compete with, rather than complement, the savory notes of these fritters. Black walnut flour would probably have been an excellent choice, if I hadn’t used the last of it making chickweed pesto and black walnut fritters. If you don’t mind eating wheat, regular all-purpose flour is an option as well, but the carbs won’t be as low. (As written, for 12 fritters, each fritter would have just 3 net carbs.)
While these fritters are wonderful fresh out of the pan, I enjoyed them as much the next day, toasted in my air fryer and used as slices of “bread” for a turkey sandwich. They would be equally delicious as bases for mini pizzas – the possibilities are endless!
Spring Green Fritters
Makes 12 to 14
- 14 ounces mixed leafy greens, wild or domestic, cleaned and stems removed
- 1/4 tsp each dried thyme, sage, rosemary and salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 4 Tbs almond flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
- preferred high temperature oil for frying
- Boil the greens in a large pot of salted water. Tougher, more bitter greens like dandelion may need a full 10 minutes; garlic mustard and domesticated greens only need five or less.
- Drain the greens and dry thoroughly with a towel, squeezing to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Place greens, seasonings, almond flour, garlic and eggs in a food processor and pulse until fully combined.
- Scrape the fritter batter into a bowl, and gently fold into the feta cheese.
- Heat a pan over medium heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is shimmery, put a heaping tablespoonful of fritter batter and gently press it flat with a back of a spoon or a spatula. Add batter for additional fritters, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
- Fry the fritters two to three minutes, until they are golden brown and have some amount of cohesion. Carefully flip them, and continue to fry for another two minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat for the rest of the batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
- Serve warm with sour cream dip and lemon wedges.