People, we have been remiss.
We’ve been sending you home with bags full to bursting with collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, rape, and more every week for ages now … but when it comes to helping you scale those mountains of green — when it comes to telling you what you can do with them — our advice has been meager.
And that’s really too bad; we’re actually quite fanatical about the stuff, and it would be a shame to reach the end of a CSA season knowing we might have converted many a greens skeptic if only we’d provided recipes!
Greens are as good for you as you’ve always heard, chock full of iron and calcium and vitamin C and beta carotene. They’re a great boost for your immune system as it fights everything from the common cold to, studies suggest, cancer.
But don’t force them down just because you should! Greens are delicious and quite easy to prepare. Although they span the flavor spectrum, from mustard’s potent spiciness to Red Russian kale’s surprising sweetness, they all take to the same basic preparation with ease.
We eat greens several nights a week this time of year. Most of the time we chop them coarsely (with or without the stems, depending on our mood and our patience) and sauté them in olive oil with onion and garlic. We usually eat them like that, or sometimes we add a couple glugs of balsamic vinegar or soy sauce, or a squeeze of lemon. You can add almost any other vegetables to the sauté as well — in the early autumn, we thought two or three diced tomatoes added to the mix was particularly good. Canned tomatoes would work just fine this time of year.
If you’ve got Red Russian kale (that’s the stuff with the purple veins and ruffled edges, at the very right edge of the photo above) here is what you must do: melt some butter in a wide skillet or a pot, and toss in a couple diced apples and a hearty amount of that kale. A pound is not too much. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. That’s it! Unbelievably good.
Another idea is kale chips! These win over lots of skeptics, but you’ll find yourself making them time and time again because they’re so fast and wonderful. Arrange kale on a baking sheet in a single (or so) layer, toss with a little olive oil and salt, and bake at 375° for 10 minutes or so, giving the cookie sheet a shake or two if you remember, until the edges get crispy. We usually do a double batch.
Two other greens recipes we love, both from the wonderful food blog Orangette:
Braised Winter Greens with Chickpeas, Onions, and Garlic Fast, and great with any greens. Especially good with a poached or fried egg on top.
Chard, Onion, and Gruyère Panade This isn’t complicated but it does take some time to come together — not a quick weeknight supper, but a great simple meal for a chilly weekend lunch or supper. This is comfort food of the highest order, rendered from the simplest ingredients: greens, onions, garlic, bread, cheese, and broth.
We’ve got another favorite recipe on deck for tomorrow the first moment we can stop gazing at the baby. In the meantime, what are your favorite ways to prepare greens?