On the corner of every road around here we have been seeing signs saying ‘Pissenlit for sale’ (pissenlit can literally be transalted as ‘piss in the bed’ – excuse my French). In our village of Kuttolsheim, the Weyhaupt farm sells them and that’s where I get my batches, supporting local production whenever possible but there are also many farms selling them in nearby Fessenheim Le Bas, including the one owned by the well-known and very popular Marthe Kehren, an organic farmer who is loved by many of the restaurateurs and chefs of the region.
“It would be a shame if dandelion wasn’t sold or eaten anymore, as it is a true Alsatian speciality! We don’t find it anywhere else in France”, she says. “I even have clients coming all the way from neighbouring Lorraine”, she adds, “because they can’t find it in their region.”
“It’s actually the very first salad of the year” highlights her husband Christian, to explain the enthusiasm of their customers. “Dandelion represents the very first truely Alsatian tradition of the year”, adds Marthe. “People love it because it announces spring, and it reminds them of past times.. But especially because it is delicious and it has a lot of health benefits.”
Dandelion was used in traditional medicine and is apparently ‘ a health food’ according to local nutritionists and dietitians. “It is well known for its classic diuretic values that are proven, as are its antifungic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory virtues. It is also rich in vitamins, especially vitamin A, and has a detox effect on the liver.”
The bacon pieces that one usually adds to the salad are less healthy however and I add croutons and walnuts. One can very well omit all of that and just add a poached egg.or replace the bacon with chicken pieces which is definitely less fatty but less tasty also.. It is equally delicious with goat cheese bought from our very own Ferme Cabri in Nordheim and this provides a balanced meal coupled with a slice of wholemeal bread (rather than croutons) from the fabulous nearby bakery in Wintzenheim.
Personally, I love the taste of this seasonal salad and I eat it regularly when it is in season!