I have never grown out of my student thrill at finding free food. This salad is for early summer, when the dandelions are fresh and young.
Wash the dandelion flowers and leaves and pat them dry between paper towels. Cut the bacon into small pieces, fry in a dry pan over a fairly high heat until crisp and then drain on paper towels. Toss the dandelion flowers in the bacon fat over a medium heat until the buds are just open, then drain on paper towels. Put the dandelion leaves in a salad bowl and mix in the fried bacon and flowers.
Put the oil, vinegar and sugar, if using, in a small screw-top jar and season with salt and pepper. Seal the jar and shake well, then add to the salad and toss lightly.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.