In London town, the main crop we get our hands on are dandelion and nettles. Throughout most of the Mediterranean these plants are recognised and sold for their strong health benefit. Nettles, among other benefits, are said to have anti cancer properties, where as dandelion is a purifier of the liver.
With nettles we pick the top half of the plant, wash well and then steam it stalks and all, and then pick out any tough stalks, when it is cool enough to handle. We use these cooked leaves as we would spinach, combined with garlic yoghurt or cream cheese as a dip.
We blanch the washed dandelion leaves for 1-3 minutes (depending on how you like/can cope with the bitter taste). The leaves are then refreshed in cold water, drained and squeezed dry. We then roughly chop them and douse them liberally with a lemon or sweet vinegar dressing. The alternative is to mix it with labne (or a mixture of strained yoghurt and cream cheese). These three alternatives are all great as part of a mezze or to accompany meat or fish.