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turnip greens

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hey hounds
i've been a lurker the past couple of months, and have really enjoyed all the conversations...
but haven't had much to say as i haven't been cooking much with two young 'uns under foot (in fact only find time to lurk when feeding the 3 mo. old). i can't wait to have time to cook (more than steaming or roasting veggies and grilling/broiling meats) again. (it's a miracle when 10 mins goes by without my 2 y/o saying "play with me, play with me, play with me in the living room mommy")

that said, we do have a share with a local CSA and last night my sweet dear of a husband came home w/a huge bag of turnip greens that my friend (the farmer) had convinced him to take...

help please? (unfortunately, i don't have a ham hock or slab of bacon handy) anything more in the olive oil manner would be lovely...i once had something really yummy that involved spinach with anchovies, olives and capers. maybe pine nuts, too?

if anyone is feeling really creative my csa box also contained baby scallions, garlic, green peppers, new potatoes, slicer tomatoes, cukes...and i do have the aforementioned anchovies, olives, pine nuts and capers.


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  1. I'd wait to cook the collards until you do have some smoked pork of some sort or a smoked turkey wing, they need that flavor. They will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Collards need to cook long and slow to help them become tender. They are not a green that would saute well unless you blanched them first and even that might not work as well as you are anticipating. Be sure to trim off the tough stems too.

    1. Best strategy if you aren't employing Pig Products is to clean and cook the greens first, in as little water as possible, then squeeze'em dry, chop them coarsely, add salt, and then fry them in olive oil with whatever flavoring items you want - like scallions, anchovies, garlic - and then dress with your chosen non-flavoring embellishments, like the olives and/or pine nuts.

      You can, alternatively, fry some chopped onion in oil, stir in the cleaned greens (with water still clinging) pretty vigorously to get'em all coated, then add enough water to cook them until tender. You can cook potatoes in there, too. Salt after they all start to soften up.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        This is my cooking method of choice for all greens, except the most tender and delicate. After serving, I like a shake of tabasco-style sauce, tho' I wouldn't use it with olives or pine nuts.

        On the chance that you are not an experienced greens cook, huge quantities of greens will cook down to not much.

        1. re: personne

          The softer the leaf, the more it cooks down. Turnip greens (especially those baby ones you have) and spinach cook down a lot, to maybe an eighth of their volume, while collards and chard reduce to about a third.

          Don't worry about those sharp little whiskers - they melt to nothing.

      2. You can cook the collards the way the Brazillians do it by stripping the leaves from the stalks and then rolling the leaves up and slicing them into little ribbons. Then just brown some gralic in olive oil and quickly saute the greens until wilted. I'd bet the addition of the anchovies to the oil would benefit the dish.

        1. I can't remember if it was in a Paula Wolfert cookbook, but I found a very good recipe for bitter greens with currents....will check it out if you want.

          1. Turnip greens are different from Collard greens. Give them a nice bath, remove the large stems and strip them with your hands instead of cutting them with a knife. Spin em in a salad spinner and store them in ziploc with a few sheets of damp paper towel.

            I grew up with the pot of greens on the stove at least once a week/month, depending on the season.

            I tried all the Alton Brown recipes from the 'Field of Greens' episode and they all worked well for our taste buds. Improvise and add some of those tasty CSA ingredients to your heart's content. :)

            Link: http://www.foodtv.com/food/show_ea/ep...

            1. I love making greens (turnip, mustard, kale, rape, collard) for friends and prefer using fat back or ham for all except collards, which have a particular affinity for a smoked part. For my vegetarian friends, I am inspired by some Indian recipes that are delicious.
              Here's what I've developed and you can substitute the spices you prefer (though I think this is the best combo):

              Grind 5 cloves of garlic and an inch of ginger with a little water to make a paste.
              In a frying pan with a lid, add oil, a spoon of mustard seeds, a half spoon of fennel seeds and some red pepper or cayenne. Wait a few seconds for the seeds to start popping, add in the garlic ginger paste and some salt and fry the paste for a minute or two. Add chopped turnips greens and a some tumeric (and chopped, peeled turnips if you have them) and give it a few stirs to cover the leaves with the tarka (the paste you made at the beginning).
              Add a little water if it is dry and then cover and cook on low till tender.
              Really delicious, healthful and the spices stand up to the turnips.

              1. WOW!
                thanks for all the suggs
                i had a moment this morning to "strip" and rinse the bag 'o greens and found that my greens are babies, complete with tiny turnips attached. i went ahead and stripped them off the stalks (like i would with parsley?) running gently pinched fingers down each one, but many broke as the stalks were tender. can't be a bad thing, but now i'm wondering if it was necessary as they are so young. i did cut off the baby turnips to add in for fun. i'm planning to chop greens, add to sauteed onion/garlic and then simmer by adding some chicken stock. might add sliced new potatoes per Will's suggestion. we'll see how it tastes. i have some spicy chicken sausage to serve alongside.

                i can see now that i have them all stripped and washed that the quantity is not so overwhelming, maybe 1-1.5 lbs; will cook right down to dinner for two.

                the leaves have little spikes on them! anyone notice that before?

                FFR,in what ways should i treat baby greens differently than mature greens?