Dandelion greens and grilled bread

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An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta

An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta


Χόρτα με ψωμί στη σχάρα. This post for dandelions greens and grilled bread is really just a composite of two other recipes we have already posted, with some small modifications. Still, we could not not share this recipe, because this open-faced sandwich is one that we grew up on, and it is all sorts of delicious!

The concept here is simple; after dandelions greens are cooked, Greeks like to toss them with a healthy amount of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a bit of salt and pepper. Often, that’s it! Sure you can add some dry oregano if you like, but that would usually be the extent of it.

An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta

Horta, as dandelion greens are referred to in Greek (at least in our Greek family), are sometimes served as the green side to protein like chicken thighs, pork souvlaki or cedar planked salmon, or they are the main course to a light lunch or dinner. In both instances, horta taste best when they are accompanied by a nice loaf of bread to help sop up the delicious lemony-olive oil that gets left behind on the plate.

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An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta

Our parents would usually cook up a big batch of horta when they went through the trouble of making them. The cooking actually isn’t any trouble at all, but when you forage for the dandelion greens yourself, there is a bit of work involved in sorting through and cleaning the dandelion greens. You can read all about the horta-picking by reading this post; if you’re Greek you will likely recognize yourself and your family in our story. If you’re not Greek, you may now understand what the people you saw on the side of the highway were doing with their big black garbage bags.

A big batch of horta usually meant horta leftovers, and one delicious way to enjoy them was like this, with dandelion greens and grilled bread. When our parents light up the barbecue, they always threw a few pieces of bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano on the grill. This then becomes the perfect base for a mound of dandelion greens. If you like, add a slice or crumbling of feta for additional flavour. Also, leftovers are great, but this combination is so wonderful that it is often made intentionally.


Helpful hints

Are dandelion greens healthy?

They certainly are! Dandelion greens are incredibly nutritious, easily sourced (either in an open field or the grocery store) and typically inexpensive. They are a true powerhouse of a green and we’re not quite sure why more people don’t talk about them as a superfood. We’re still waiting for dandelion greens to usurp kale in the health food craze (although there is room at the top for both!). To read more about dandelion greens, read our post here.

Can dandelion greens and grilled bread be made ahead of time?

Each component can be made ahead of time, but don’t assemble your open-face sandwich until you are almost ready to enjoy it. Because the dandelion greens are tossed with a liberal amount of olive oil and lemon juice there is a fine line between having the grilled bread soak up some of the juices and having it turn into a soggy mess.

Can I grill the bread indoors if I don’t have a barbecue or outdoor grill?

Sure! You can use an indoor grill pan set on your stovetop or you can even use the broiler option in your oven. Just be careful that you don’t burn your bread!

What is the best bread to use for dandelion greens and grilled bread?

We like a hearty loaf with a nice crust and a denser crumb. Also, be sure not to use a thin baguette unless you want to serve small portions of the dandelion greens and grilled bread, perhaps as a neat little appetizer. We like to use a rustic country bread, which in Greek is called a village fratzola (χωριάτικη φρατζόλα).


Looking for more light meal ideas? Check these out:

Eggplant B.L.T. sandwich

Rice with mizithra and burnt butter

Strapatsada (Egg and tomato omelette)

An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta
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An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta
An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta
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Dandelion greens and grilled bread

An open-face sandwich of dandelion greens and grilled bread flavoured with lemon, olive oil, garlic, oregano and feta
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Light meal
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Dandelion greens, Dandelion greens and grilled bread, Grilled bread, Horta
Servings: 2 people
Author: Mia Kouppa

Equipment

  • Outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan)

Ingredients

For the dandelion greens

  • 4 bunches of dandelion greens you should end up with 2 cups of cooked dandelion greens
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil approximately
  • juice of 1 lemon or more if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the grilled bread

  • 4 slices country bread, cut 1 - 1/12 inches thick
  • 2 - 3 tbsp (30-45 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced in half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the dandelion greens

  • Pick through your dandelion greens and remove any leaves which are brown or discoloured. Chop them up into portions which are about 6 inches long (smaller dandelion greens will not need to be cut).
  • Remove any large tough roots, and any excess dirt.  Next, carefully wash your dandelion greens.  The best way to do this is to work with two large bowls.  Fill each one with water and immerse your greens, a few handfuls at a time, into the first bowl.  Place your hand into the water with the greens and shake it around, almost like the agitator of a washing machine would.  After you do this for about 30 seconds, move the dandelion greens over to the next bowl which is also filled with water.  Empty the first bowl, and refill with water.  
  • Repeat until the water left behind when you transfer your dandelion greens, is crystal clear. Keep in mind that dandelion greens you pick yourself will likely be dirtier than those you buy at the supermarket.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt to taste to the water (usually we add 1 teaspoon per 4 liters of water).  Once the water has come to a boil, add your dandelion greens.
  • Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for approximately 15 – 25 minutes, until the dandelion are tender.  Every 5 minutes or so, stir the greens around in the pot. Actual cooking time will depend on how tender your dandelion greens were to begin with.
  • Drain the cooking liquid. (You can reserve the cooking liquid to make a tea. See here)
  • Right before you are planning to serve your dandelion greens with grilled bread, toss your greens with the lemon juice and olive oil.  You can add salt at this point as well, if you desire. Note, the quantities of lemon juice, olive oil and salt are really up to your own taste.

For the grilled bread

  • Set your outdoor grill to medium heat. If you are using a stove top grill pan, set that over medium heat at well.
  • Brush both sides of the bread generously with olive oil. Sprinkle the oregano on all sides of the bread as well, and add some salt and pepper to taste.
  • When your grill is ready, place the bread on it (if using a charcoal grill do not place the bread directly over the flame). Grill for a few minutes per side, turning the bread so that you get nice grill marks on each side.
  • Remove the bread from the grill and rub a garlic clove half over one side of each slice of bread.

Assembly

  • Place the bread with the garlic-rubbed side up. Top with a mound of the dandelion greens, dividing them equally among the 4 slices of bread.
  • Top with feta if desired, either sliced or crumbled.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

In this recipe we used purchased dandelion greens which came in bundles of 4 - 5 groupings of dandelion greens (leaves connected to one main root).  You should end up with approximately 2 cups of cooked dandelion greens.
The amount of olive oil and lemon juice called for in this recipe (for the dandelion greens) is meant to be used as a guide.  If you want more of a lemony flavour, add more lemon juice.  If you would prefer to keep the oil to a minimum, cut down on the quantity you add.  Keep in mind however that the olive oil and lemon juice are key to making this recipe delicious.  Remember that some of the liquid can be left behind in the bowl after the greens are coated with it.

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