Burdock, let’s just say it, is a witchy kind of root. It is nearly black, lumpy, thin, and strange-looking. But its intimidating appearance masks a mellow, nutty flavor, sweet and earthy and crisp. It’s best eaten cooked, or shredded very finely raw, as the uncooked texture resembles parsnip more than carrot. Braising is a fantastic way to invite this nourishing root into your cooking. Aside from the flavor, it is high in soluble fiber and antioxidants, and is known to act a detoxifiying agent for the blood, liver, and kidneys. Michelle McKenzie, in her beautiful book Dandelion and Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs, first taught me to cook the root in this way; the recipe that follows is based loosely on hers, although I have added garlic and ginger, and the dandelion greens, as I think the roots benefit both visually and texturally from the contrast of the bitter greens. Plus, we’ve got a theme going in this issue.
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