Setting: Farmers market on a busy Saturday morning, the busiest booth, a line of people behind another shopper and me.
Other Shopper, eyeing a fat bunch of beets: "Will you cut off the greens for me?"
Farmer, eyeing me with a conspiratorial grin: "The greens are the best part. I bet this young lady can tell you how to cook them up fast and easy."
Other Shopper, eyeing me suspiciously, looking decidedly dubious: "How?"
Me, with evangelist fervor: "Just chop the greens up really thin, then sauté with garlic and onion in a little olive oil. They're great."
Other Shopper, obviously disgusted: "She can have my greens."
Sure, go ahead and laugh, the farmer and I did!
But the truth is, greens are overwhelming for many cooks. Even at my house, greens too often go to waste -- a waste of nutrition, of money, of scarce resources. So I'm constantly on the hunt for easy ways to cook fresh greens. Honestly, the recipe I 'cooked' was the stuffed chicken thighs which were good enough but not something to make again. But at the last minute, I tucked the leftover greens into the farro intended as a bed for the chicken -- now farro with beet greens, that's delicious!
WHAT IS FARRO? Farro is also called 'emmer wheat' and is much-appreciated in Italian cuisine. I love with this grain for its nutty and hearty puff. I see it at Trader Joe's and Amazon sells Farro Perlato by La Valletta. In St. Louis, I find farro at Global Foods in Kirkwood, in the rice section at the front of the store. The 'pearled' or 'semi-pearled' farro has some of the husk removed and cooks more quickly.
But -- farro isn't necessary, although wonderful and wonderfully healthful. Stir cooked greens into brown rice or pasta or any other 'hot' starchy something.
FARRO with BEET GREENS
Time to table: 30 minutes
8 ounces farro
1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in sherry while cooking (optional but nice texture, flavor contrast)
1 pound of beet greens, soaked, rinsed, washed well (they really hold grit in the crevasses so clean very well)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook the farro according to the package instructions. Be sure to salt the water well.
Heat the olive oil on MEDIUM HIGH in a large skillet til shimmery. Chop the beet stems and cook along with the garlic. Add the garlic and let cook til just beginning to turn golden.
Stack five or six leaves atop one another, roll into a cigar, then cut cross-wise, as thin as you can. Stir the greens into the skillet, turning to coat with fat. Cover and let cook, stirring often, until greens are fully cooked. Stir in the raisins and cooked farro. If needed, let cook a bit to cook off the liquid. Season to taste. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Even though it cooks down, a whole pound of cooked greens might be too much green for some tastes. Just stir in what seems right, save the rest for tomorrow's salad. Once it's cooked, the greens will hold for a day or more.
PRINT JUST A RECIPE! Now you can print a recipe without wasting ink and paper on the header and sidebar. Here's how.
NEVER MISS A RECIPE! For 'home delivery' of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.