From The Whole Bowl: Gluten-free, Dairy-free Soups and Stews, by Rebecca Wood and Leda Scheintaub. Countryman Press, 2015.
While the dandelion greens found year round at the greengrocers work well in this soup, for a special springtime delicacy, I encourage you to forage dandelions so that you can also feast on their hearts and buds.
Early spring dandelions are sweeter than leaves from a plant that has blossomed and set seed. In the fall, the leaves are again less bitter than in midseason. Cultivated dandelion greens from the store are less bitter than the wild ones, but in both cases you’ll want to nibble on a leaf to ascertain its tang and gage how much to include in your dish. If the taste is too bitter for your liking, parboiling resolves this. By the way, dandelions are among the healthiest of greens.
Roasting so brings out the sweetness in daikon that daikon alone serves as good enough excuse to roast a chicken. But if there’s nothing else to fill the oven, conserve energy by baking the daikon in your toaster oven. And, if you wish, bake it a day in advance, as once the daikon is cooked and the greens are at hand, putting this soup together is a snap. Roasting mellows the daikon’s pungency so that, along with its increased sweetness, it nicely tames dandelion’s bitter note. The drizzle of hazelnut makes a fine finish.
So people can adjust the soup to their taste, serve with lemon as sour (in addition to the sweet, pungent, and salty tastes already contained in this soup) moderates the bitterness.
1 large daikon, about 12 inches
6 cups stock
1 teaspoon unrefined salt, or to taste
8 ounces (about 4 cups) dandelion greens, chopped
4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Unrefined hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
4 lemon slices
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the whole daikon on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, or until softened but still firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Peel and discard the skin, then dice the daikon.
Place the daikon in a large saucepan and add the stock and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add the dandelion greens, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the scallions and season with pepper; taste and adjust the salt as needed.
Spoon into bowls, drizzle with oil, and serve each bowl with a slice of lemon.