Spring Greens

Swiss chard, collards, kale, turnip and mustard greens wave with “buy me” appeal. I look for them in produce displays, farmers markets and eagerly wait for the seedlings in my garden. They’re hardy, delicious, inexpensive and packed with nutrition. Yet numerous times I’ve been asked “whatever do you do with those.”

Several years ago my friend Jodie returned from Findlay Market in Cincinnati with a technique for cooking greens gleaned from another shopper. I’ve been using this method ever since and have never found anything better. It’s simple, quick and no vitamins go down the drain. Greens offer vegetable variety, supplement bean or rice dishes, lighten stews, serve as beds for grilled fish or meats or even take part in fillings for tacos, omelets or quiche. If you’re looking for ways to add calcium to your diet, remember collards have more calcium than any other green vegetable. Keep these lush greens in your home veg routine.

Pot Braised Greens

1 bunch greens, usually 12 to 16 oz. Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards, Mustard or Turnip

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

pinch of crushed red pepper or a few slices of Serrano chili (optional)

½ cup water


Wash the greens and trim the stem ends. V-out or pull the leafy green part from the stems and separate. Thinly slice the stems (about 1 cup); halve the large leaves and slice into ribbons (about 6 cups packed).

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot (stainless steel or enameled cast iron). Add the garlic and stir until it releases its fragrance. Stir in the sliced stems, sprinkle with salt, add water, cover and cook briskly 5 minutes.

Uncover and add the sliced leaves and another pinch of salt. Cover and steam cook until leaves wilt. Stir, cover and continue to simmer 5 to 15 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Just before serving add a few drops of lemon juice or a dash of good vinegar if desired. Enough for 3 or 4. Braised greens reheat well and often taste even better the next day.

To increase the recipe, double everything except the water and allow some of the leaves to wilt before adding the remainder if the pot seems too small.

Mary Jo’s cookbook is available at Amazon.com    http://amzn.to/9lOnZv


One Response to “Spring Greens”

  1. Sandra Says:

    Such great reciples. I’ll be trying 2,3, or 4 or…. quite soon! Thanks again.

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