At the farmers market, my intentions' eyes are too often bigger than my reality's stomach, especially with greens that have such short shelf-lives.
In 2005, I learned how to flash cook greens, quickly, so that they would last another day or even two or three. It was one of those life-changing recipes. Now when I come home from the farmers market with greens, especially beet greens that would otherwise go to waste, I start a pot of water to boil.
GREENS THAT FLASH COOK WELL: Beet greens, kale, spinach, chard
GREENS THAT DON'T FLASH COOK WELL: Radish greens
Time to table: 25 minutes
Water to boil
Big bunch of greens, including the stems if smaller than 1/4 inch in diameter
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add generous amount of salt.
Wash the greens well under running water. As the leaves are washed, stack them so that the junctions of the stems and leaves are lined up. In one big bunch, cut the leaves from the stems. Chop the stems in 1/2 inch lengths.
Place the stems in the boiling water and simmer for a minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. Add the leaves, submersing them into the boiling water if necessary, and let them cook until tender, several minutes. Transfer to a colander (use a slotted spoon if you need to save the water for another batch). Let cool and drain, then chop and refrigerate for up to one day.
Reputable food professionals such as Alton Brown recommend soaking greens in cold standing water for several minutes to soften and loosen the dirt, then rinsing under running water. I do when greens are very dirty. Mostly, however, I only wash them carefully, running my fingers across the surface, discarding leaves that seem tough or are otherwise in tough shape.
The inspiring recipe says to discard the leaves on stems more than 1/4 inch thick; I think this means that only the most tender leaves will work for a cold chopped salad.
The inspiring recipe also says to discard the stems. But don't -- they're sooo good! Plus, beet stems have such glorious ruby color. But I also like to cook and store the stems separately from the greens. They can be fibrous for some people's digestive systems, a little goes a long way.
SALAD of GREEK GREENS with BEETS
Time to table: 5 minutes
Serves 1 to many
Cooked beets (how to cook beets), cut into small bites
Splash of good vinegar
Splash of good olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients, serve and savor!
GREEK GREENS & FISH PASTA SALAD
Time to table: 15 minutes
Splash olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 pound (or more) tilapia or other mild-flavored fish, cut in one-inch pieces
2 cups cooked pasta
Chilled Greek Greens, stems and leaves
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons good mustard
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Salt & pepper
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the ginger and the fish and let cook for 5 - 6 minutes, until fish is done. Meanwhile, collect the pasta and Greek Greens in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and the cooked fish. Gently combine. Serve immediately
~ Greens n All Beet Soup ~
~ Greens with Sour Cream ~
~ Gratin of Greens ~
~ more leafy greens recipes ~
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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