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Feb 11, 2007 04:54 PM

Fending off druids - looking for your best recipes for kale, spinach, parsley and collard greens

My mother called the other day and told me that she has "druids on her eyes." She meant drusen, which are precursors for incurable macular degeneration. (Big bummer.) Her doctor told her to eat a cup of dark green leafy vegetables every other day - he mentioned parsley, kale, spinach, and collard greens. I think turnip greens are also recommended.

I'm making her some Kale and White Bean soup tonight, am planning some spanakopita in a day or two, and will drop off some take-out tabouli salad later. But I'd love some other ideas - especially for collard greens and turnip greens, which I've never cooked.

And I'm planning to up my intake of these greens as well, in hopes that I can fend off the "druids" before it's too late. So lots of variety would be a good thing.

What are your favorite recipes for parsley, kale, spinach, and collard or turnip greens?


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  1. Ina Garten's Spinach Gratin is fabulous. Here's a link:

    I also love scrambled eggs with spinach...even better with some garlic, onions and artichoke hearts.

    For kale, try this:
    Kale and Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta
    1-1/4# kale, stemmed and cut into 1” pieces
    4C whole milk
    3-1/2C water
    2C polenta
    1/2t salt
    3/4t pepper
    4 oz. pancetta, or bacon, coarsely chopped
    4 oz. variety of mushrooms (crimini, oyster and stemmed shitake), sliced
    4T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/2C chicken broth
    2T chopped thyme
    1T grated lemon zest
    4T unsalted butter
    2/3C grated Parmesan

    Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain. Bring milk through pepper to boil in large saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

    Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add mushrooms and 2T oil to drippings in skillet. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in kale and pancetta. Add garlic and broth; simmer until broth is slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Stir in thyme, lemon peel and 2T oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    Whisk butter and cheese into polenta and divide among plates. Top with kale mixture.

    6 servings

    1. Trader Joes makes a nice frozen chopped spinach. I use it in crepes. Top with a mornay sauce and some toasted almond slivers. It's also good in quiche or for soups.

      Parsley makes a nice refreshing salad. Just destem it and toss with a light shallot vinegrette.

      Turnip greens don't have much nutrition when I'm through with them. I cook them for hours with a ham hock or bone and serve with cornbread.

      Not a lover of kale... at all. Good luck in fending off the druids.

      1. the boiled kale four ways in zuni is a simple, tasty preparation--fry up onion, boil water, add kale, s+p. can look up exact details if anyone would like. variations include soaking in garlicky toast, adding poached egg, etc.

        1. I'm sorry about the druids!

          My favorite thing with greens is to put them in a big covered pot with a little water and boil/steam until tender--about 15 minutes for chard, then drain it and chop it. Heat olive oil in a saute pan, and add a clove or so of garlic and a little crushed red pepper. Saute those for a minute or so (don't brown the garlic) then add the drained greens and toss to absorb the olive oil and seasonings and heat through. Take it off the heat and drizzle with red wine vinegar. I could eat a cup of this every day!

          I do this all the time with chard, but turnip greens are similar, and spinach would work too. Kale and collards might be a little too tough for this treatment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nettie

            I use this same technique (minus the vinegar) for spinach and collard greens. Never have trouble getting my boys to eat their leafy greens. I wish your mom well.

          2. My favorite recipe for Kale is quick braise from Ric Orlando's book; it is quite simple and so delicious.

            A Bunch of Kale - Curly and/or Lacinata
            Olive oil
            Sea salt

            My interpretation of this is to take a bunch of Kale, remove center rib, and wash, leaving the water on the leaves. Works with both Curly Kale and Lacinata Kale. I like to mix them.
            Anyway, slice very thinly a medium sweet onion.
            In the bottom of large saute pan, put 1 TBSP olive oil, cover with sliced onions so they make a even layer completely covering bottom of pan. Generously sprinkle with salt.
            Heat the onions over med-high heat, until they start to crackle. Add the greens and a 1/4 cup of water, cover for about 3-5 minutes, until greens are wilted and tender. Turn off heat, and uncover, stirring onions from bottom and mixing all thorough the greens. Ready to eat.
            Can also add some garlic and black pepper with the salt, although I like them as is. Simple, easy and delicious.

            And thanks for the post. I have macular degeneration in my family too - so I will be sure to keep eating these greens. Not exactly a hardship since I love them!