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Apr 13, 2009 06:46 AM

Greens - how do you prepare them

I love greens, kale, spinich, bok choi, and others. I am very fortunate to have access to a lot of variety through the local korean & chinese groceries.

However, I've gotten very bored of how I prepare them. I only have 3 methods and they are all around quick stir fry (i.e., salt/pepper and garlic, dash of soy, or oyster sauce).

I would appreciate suggestions on other ways to prepare greens (it doesn't matter which type of cooking: chinese, southern, italian etc) but just looking for new ways to prepare them.

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  1. I'll throw my favorite surprisingly great Kale preparation out there again:

    1 head kale, shredded
    1 avocado chopped
    juice of one lemon
    1 c tomato diced
    salt to taste

    In mixing bowl sprinkle the lemon juice over the kale and then add the avocado. Using your hands, thoroughly massage the avocado into the kale until it "relaxes". Taste and add salt. Mix in the tomato.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chris VR

      A head of kale? What kind of kale?
      I usually use lacinato a.k.a. dino kale, dark green longish narrow leaves sold in a bundle, so your post is confusing me . . .

      The boiled kale soup that is in Zuni Cafe Cookbook is a genius simple surprise. You sweat a couple onions, add some chili flakes, cut the kale to ribbons, cover with water and simmer 30 minutes or less. It's delicious.

      A more ambitious recipe is malfatti - lucious balls of chard leaves, ricotta, eggs and parmasean, served in sage butter.

      1. re: pitu

        Yeah the recipe calls for a head, but I've never found it that way. Amount wise- it's pretty forgiving. I usually use one "bunch" of kale from the supermarket. When it's all shredded, it looke like WAY too much but once the recipe's done, it's down to a reasonable-looking amount.

        The kind that I've used for this comes with a fairly thick and fibrous stalk (that I cut out), with the very curly leaves- more of a light green than a dark green, but it's what I see in all the supermarkets around here, so it can't be that out of the ordinary.

        I love the sound of the malfatti, will definitely try that with my coop kale this summer!

        1. re: pitu

          I just saved that malfatti recipe, it looks delicious and I have lots of chard in summer. Thanks! I also like chard boiled (put stems in first), drained, dressed with lemon juice, salt, and sliced jalapenos.

      2. One southern style has bacon(!) cooked till crisp, onions cooked till soft; add the greens and cook covered until wilted, uncovered until tender; then season with cider vinegar, salt and pepper. My favorite. I usually use some form of chard, although most southern recipes will call for a mixture of different greens, or just collard greens.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mcsheridan

          I never had southern style greens till I was in my mid-forties and visited Tennessee - I loved them, but when I looked at recipes involving smoked ham hocks and prolonged cooking my enhusiasm cooled. Then a Kentucky-reared friend taught me a less cumbersome technique. Like most standards, it's quite forgiving. Similar to mcsheridan, I brown chopped bacon but then remove it from the pan before sweating the onions in the bacon fat. Add your choice of roughly-chopped greens (it's okay if they still have a little of the rinse water), cover, when fairly tender add balsamic or cider vinegar, chicken or ham broth, pepper, the reserved bacon, and a little apple cider or sugar if you like a sweet-sour taste. It takes maybe 30 minutes from start to finish.

          1. re: greygarious

            You can start with whatever seasoning meat you'd like for southern-style slow cooked greens: tasso (chopped fine), pickled pork, salted pork, smoked sausage, ham hocks, smoked turkey necks, smoked turkey wings, etc. Brown the meat to render some fat (if you use turkey, you might need to add a little fat to get it going), brown the onions & garlic, then add chopped greens as described above. I don't remove the seasoning meat, but rather allow it to simmer along with the greens until they're tender. Don't forget the hot pepper, or serve with some pepper vinegar on the side.

            You can also make a gumbo z'herbes (aka gumbo verte or greens gumbo). Here's a link to a step-by-step recipe: Basically, you're making a gumbo, then adding a variety of greens in place of the usual protein choices (chicken, sausage, seafood).

          2. re: mcsheridan

            I use a similar recipe for cooking all of my greens: chard, kale, collards, etc., and just adjust cooking time for the toughness of the leaves. Start with bacon or pancetta, cook until crisp and remove to drain, add onion and cook until soft (this is really optional), and about a tablespoon of red pepper flake. Add greens and cook until they brighten up, 1-2 min. Add splash of stock, splash of cider vinegar, salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of sugar. Cover and cook until tender (depending on the kind of green....3-15 minutes). Add the bacon back in. Perfect every time.

            This is my grandma's recipe. Straight from Appalachian NC.

            1. re: hollyd

              Our grandmothers must have known one another, I keep my bacon or pancetta in however. But yes. Very similar. I sometimes use balsamic depending on what I have on hand. I love most greens that way.

              Another great way it I make diced peeled potatoes cooked in cream until soft but not mushy and then add the spinach, kale at the end to lightly wilt. The combo of the cream and the potatoes makes a great mixture. Soups of course and even a stir fry of arugula or any good greens, chick peas, garlic and onion is a great mixture. Easy and quick

          3. Toss them in soup .... (heck, it's only appropriate given your handle).

            1. I'm not a big fan of choy but I cut it up and toss in an Asian soup and that works for me.

              As we round out our CSA membership we have been up to our necks in greens of all types. We have been eating a lot of kale for breakfast done in a southern method of diced onion sweated then the chopped greens are added with a little liquid and cooked until soften. I don't let them go until mushy just soft enough that the chopped stems are tender. S & P and a fried egg on top makes a dandy breakfast.

              1. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (VCFE) has this recipe for Trouchia - apparently a Provencal frittata with Swiss Chard and caramelized onions. I love it and it always gets rave reviews. A little involved, but then it could be a one dish meal. Let me know if you want me to paraphrase it here.

                Agree with ipsedixit about tossing greens in soups. Especially bean or bean and pasta soups. Speaking of pasta, you might want to check out recipes at Heidi Swanson's blog: She has a wonderful pasta with harissa, olives and tuscan kale. I know of at least one other tofu-chickpea-kale skillet on her site that comes together quickly and is plenty good.

                My other two standard treatments for greens are a la Catalan (sauteed with garlic, raisins and pine nuts, also from VCFE) and my native Indian style - hot oil + turmeric + cumin seeds + mustard seeds + asafoetida + garlic + chopped greens + ground corriander. Cook until soft. Salt and chili flakes. Serve with roti or with rice and dal.