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Jan 13, 2007 10:24 PM

Bitter greens suggestions

I've become very adept at making next-to-perfect sauteed broccoli rabe, which I often serve alongside red meat or with pasta.

However, I'd like to broaden my bitter greens horizons and cook something else. I'm not just asking *which* bitter greens I should cook--rather, I'm hoping you chowhounds could tell me exactly how you prepare them and what you like to serve them with.

I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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  1. my favorite use for broccoli rabe is with orecchiette and sausage, recipe loosely adapted from Lidia Bastianich. I don't like dried orecchiette and make it fresh by hand (2 cups semolina flour, 2 tbsp olive oil, enough water for form a dough that holds together, knead till smooth--like your earlobe--then roll into 3/4"-thick snakes, cut in 3/4" increments, and shape by pressing your thumb firmly into dough, wrapping edges of dough around thumb, then inverting onto opposing index finger; toss completed orecchiette with more flour), I brown some broken-up Italian sausage, add chopped broccoli rabe, and add chicken stock and simmer till everything is well cooked; separately boil the orecchiette in salted water till almost al dente, drain and toss into the meat-greens mixture and cook 1-2 minutes to absorb some stock, then finish with grated pecorino romano, salt, pepper.

    3 Replies
    1. re: akowit

      sounds tasty. I learned my sauteed greens technique from Lidia's book and TV show, but I tend to make it only as a side dish.

      I ought to incorporate it into a hearty pasta entrée like you suggest. Thanks

      1. re: Yaqo Homo

        I do something similar but often add beans (romano). If I am not taking the time to brown meat / simmer sauce, just a quick olive oil/garlic thing, maybe with some prosciutto, I might add the rapini to the pasta water in the last few minutes of cooking. The main advantage here is speed.

        1. re: Yaqo Homo

          Raab is really great in this combo. I would add a touch of red pepper flakes, but it's certainly not necessary. Turkey sausage is good too.

      2. recently i made jumbo shells stuffed with escarole, sausage and fresh ricotta:
        --chop 1 large head escarole into ribbons and cook it in chicken stock; drain it
        --bake 2 lbs. sausage in the oven (less mess); it was hand-made hot pork sausage from an italian butcher
        --cool the sausage and crumble it in the food processor
        --cook the jumbo pasta shells VERY al dente, drain and toss with oil (DO NOT RINSE)
        --combine sausage, escarole and (16 oz. fresh made)ricotta in a large bowl
        --also added chopped parsley, cooked chopped onion, minced fresh thyme, red pepper flakes and some grated romano cheese
        --added 2 beaten raw eggs and mixed everything well
        --used a big spoon to stuff the shells, which lined a well-oiled casserole dish
        --sauce with tomato bechamel, top with smoked mozzarella and bake about 20 minutes at 400.

        guests loved it.

        escarole, white bean and sausage soup is great in winter.

        i also really like arugula and watercress with eggs or stirred into lentils with some bacon.

        these greens are also really nice stirred into warm cheesy rice.

        basically, anyplace you'd use spinach, try a bitter green.

        1. As this is in "Home Cooking", I'm astonished noone has mentioned collard greens. A soul food staple!

          Cook them with onions, bacon or pork fat (this is a good use for cheap fatty bacon you wouldn't want for breakfast) and brown sugar or molasses. This really turns their bitterness into loveliness.

          I make them when my S.O. makes slow-cook BBQ. Also good with any spicy main dish.

          5 Replies
          1. re: demimonde

            How long do you cook them? Do you quick-cook the greens, or do you do the southern slow-slow-simmer thing?

            1. re: Sharuf

              Slow-slow simmer, of course! I'm a huge fan of Southern cooking, and, honestly, it's less work to slow cook. Literally leave it on the back burner and spend your time on other dishes. Besides, we're not talking chard, here. Collard greens are tough and bitter. They need time to soften properly.

              1. re: demimonde

                Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm making a vaguely southern-themed dinner tonight, so I'm soaking some collards in the sink as we speak.

                I'm going to cook them up with pancetta, red onions, brown sugar and vinegar and let them simmer for at least 90 minutes. I've never done collards before, so wish me luck.

                1. re: Yaqo Homo

                  Sounds delish! I'm sending country-fried luck your way as we speak!

                  Note: Don't add the vinegar until the very end. Apple cider vinegar is good. Hot pepper vinegar is even better.

              2. re: Sharuf

                Collard are generally too tough to wilt and require more cooking.

            2. Ha, this is the 2nd time today I've posted this link, but it really is delicious!

              Sweet and Sour Greens with Quince and Pomegranate: