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Stamnagathi (dandelion leaves) is one of the standard elements of the Cretan diet. It is one of the top wild greens since it grows everywhere and anywhere with remarkable nutrition, rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamins. It usually grows in winter in nature but today you’ll find it all season round from greenhouses and hydroponic crops.Stamnagathi (dandelion leaves) is one of the standard elements of the Cretan diet. It is one of the top wild greens since it grows everywhere and anywhere with remarkable nutrition, rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamins. It usually grows in winter in nature but today you’ll find it all season round from greenhouses and hydroponic crops.


We can combine it in many ways in our kitchen; eaten raw, in salads, boiled, with goat, lamb, pork and fish, fried with eggs and marinade.We can combine it in many ways in our kitchen; eaten raw, in salads, boiled, with goat, lamb, pork and fish, fried with eggs and marinade.Wild stamnagathi is collected in winter from areas near the sea and in many mountainous areas. It is a grass that withstands low temperatures even in the snow. What grows near the sea is more delicious as it has taken the salt and iodine from it. Back then we were limited to just enjoying the winter months. Today certified outdoor and greenhouse crops that guarantee product quality have given us the opportunity to enjoy it on our plate all year long.Passing recently from the village of Gangales of Heraklion, a lowland traditional village located on the northern edge of the plain of Mesara, with extensive winter artichoke and sturgeon cultivation, I met my friend Vicky.Vicky lives in the village and has taken over the cultivation of stamnagathi started by her father. She welcomed me, and I had the opportunity to taste a combination of lamb meat with stamnagathi from the hands of her mother-in-law. Experienced in the art of cooking, as she maintained a traditional café in previous years where all the people of the region went to taste its dishes and she continues to make traditional delicious home-made dishes today.I kept the recipe of Vicky mother, Helen, when I left and of course they supplied me with freshly cut stamnagathi. I got lamb meat and tried to make the recipe. The result can be enjoyed together!

Ingredients:
1kg. lamb (cut into small portions)
500g of stamnagathi (dandelion leaves)
1 large dried onion
100ml olive oil
1 tablespoon of flour
Juice from a lemon
Salt & pepper

Method:
In a saucepan sauté the lamb in olive oil to form a brown crust on both sides.
Add the chopped onion and leave to taste. Pour some salt and warm water until the meat is almost covered and allow to cook over medium heat for about an hour.
To clean the stamnagathi, in a bowl add water, a little vinegar and leave the greens. Change the water several times and strain. If we do not like the light bitterness we can boil it for five minutes. Personally I think it complements the lamb.
When the meat is ready, add the stamnogathi in the pan, salt and cook for 10 minutes (I like the stamnagathi slightly-cooked, otherwise cook it for a bit longer).
On a plate, mix the lemon juice with the flour and a little water until it’s a smooth mix, add some juice from the food and mix.
Pour over the food, shake the pot in circular movements (do not use a spoon) and allow to boil.
Season with fresh pepper and serve.

Good luck!!!

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