When the dandelions start popping up in our yard in the spring, it's time to make a batch of dandelion fritters. I first got this delicious idea from the Doula who helped with my twins' birth, and it became a favorite seasonal tradition in our house. I don't usually make a lot of fried food, but this treat is well worth it.
You simply go out in the yard and pop the flower heads off of dandelions before the lawn gets mowed. Avoid doing this in areas where weed spraying may have occurred, not just because we want those dandelions organic, but because weed killing chemicals for lawns are not necessarily bound by guidelines for agricultural use and human consumption
Then make yourself a batter. I don't think I've used the same recipe twice here. Any tempura batter or beer batter will do. This time I used the tempura beer batter recipe from The Joy of Cooking.
Since we don't have a deep fryer, I just put about an inch of vegetable oil in the bottom of a saucepan and kept the heat on a level where it wasn't scorching. I scoop a few flower heads up in a spoon and dip that in the batter, and pour it in the hot oil. As I said, I don't fry often, so I don't have a great deal of skill or tips to pass along here. Once they look crispy and golden like a tempura vegetable, they are done.
These are best enjoyed fresh and crispy while they are hot. I make up a little dipping sauce with sesame oil, soy sauce and vinegar, but you could eat them plain or dip them in just about any sauce that suits your fancy. I bet they would be delicious with an aioli. This is one of those social foods that's fun to make with everyone gathered around in the kitchen, enjoying them as they come out of the pan.
And here is a little something fun to listen to while you make them, a good kitchen song from my friends, The Dirty Dandelions: