I had such a laugh filming this episode because I recalled so many of the funny stories about Horta I’ve heard over the years. Horta is stewed Dandelion Greens with olive oil and lemon juice. In Greece, this is a very common dish. It’s understandably economical and very nutritious. In America it is less common. People here don’t eat dandelion greens as much, and now that we all treat our lawns and consider dandelions weeds, we hardly find them at all.
There is a joke in the spring that you know you’re Greek when your grandmother comes into the yard with a knife and plastic bag and starts digging up the dandelions for dinner. All of my Greek friends have memories of their mothers and grandmothers collecting bags and bags (and bags!) of dandelions for food. Then, they could go inside and begin a very (very!) lengthy process of rinsing the greens and discarding the flower and roots.
Once this part was finally over, the greens were boiled and served with lemon juice and olive oil. They were often served with dish or chicken, but you could just eat them on their own, too. The green cooking water was saved for drinking since it contained many of the nutrients from the dark green leaves. As you can see, nothing goes to waste with this dish!
Making this dish when we filmed was a lot of fun, even though I had to buy the dandelion greens at the store. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent watching my grandmother dig of dandelions, or how incredible it is to watch the women do it in Greece to this day. I didn’t like Horta when I was little because I found it too bitter, but now I love it. I appreciate the dish for many reasons and serve it a lot at a side dish in the warmer months.
I promise, give this a try and I'm sure you’ll like it too!
HORTA (Boiled Dandelion Greens)
I have so many fun stories about horta. In Greece, horta is served everywhere and it is often served at home, too. I have many memories of my grandmother coming into our backyard and filling a bag with the freshly dug dandelions while I played with my friends. At the time it was mortifying, but now I really appreciate it. In Greece people still dig up dandelions whenever they see them because the greens are such a delicacy!
Makes 2 servings
1 large dandelion greens, thoroughly washed
Salt for water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice from ½ fresh lemon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the dandelion greens and boil them for about 10 minutes. The leaves will turn a darker green and become will be completely wilted.
Remove the greens from the water with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain, reserving the water the cool and drink later.
Place the drained greens on a serving plate, drizzle the olive oil and top, followed by the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact email@example.com or call 203.658.8659.