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Sep 27, 2013 06:59 PM

Dark Leafy Greens Question(s)

This topic may bore some, but I have a couple questions concerning leafy greens.

First question: what is your favorite dark leafy green? Kale, collards, escarole? Rappi, spinach, chard? Something else? (My favorite is probably escarole or rappi!)

Second question: Do you use leafy greens interchangeably in dishes?

P.S. Saying or typing leafy greens this many times makes the phrase sound/look so weird..

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  1. I like them all. I don't think there is a leafy green (dark or not) that I do not like.

    I think my least favorite might be UNcooked kale, even though I love kale in almost all other forms cooked (even lightly blanched).

    5 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I find massaging the kale leaves help make it more tender [to eat uncooked].

      1. re: hawkeyeui93

        This Massaged with lime juice. Then a salad of that massaged kale, avocado, and mango with a coconut milk and lime dressing. Heaven.

        1. re: debbiel

          Sounds great. Now I know how the next batch of my garden kale will be prepared. Thanks!

      2. re: ipsedixit

        I love kale, but unless it is very young and tender, I can't eat it raw. Nothing to do with TASTE - more farther down in the digestive tract.

        Is rappi the same thing as rapini? Love that too, but at least blanched. Chard: mmmm. Then JayL reminds us of calaloo...

        In the Netherlands, kale is a staple (stampot and soup) and is often sold chopped and frozen. Freezing actually improves it, unlike most vegetables, as it makes it far less tough (by breaking down the cell walls, I presume?) without overcooking it. You can wash a kale and stick it (slightly moist) in the freezer overnight, and see the difference.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I make a salad using black/tuscan kale (goes by a lot of other names). I crush several cloves of garlic into a paste. Paste goes into the salad bowl. Squeeze in juice of a lemon. Add evoo - I use about twice the amount of lemon juice. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of grated parm cheese along with salt and pepper. Mix well. Strip the kale from the stems and tear into bite sized pieces, wash and dry and toss in the dressing. Important part is to now let this sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the lemon acid to work on the kale. When you're ready to serve, toss again and add croutons (obviously home made). Made my wife a convert to raw kale.

        2. I also love all leafy greens. My favorite way to cook them is in a little water and about 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a sliced onion. I want some now!

          1. Escarole (in chicken soup) and kale (roasted to crispiness and tossed with olive oil and salt).

            1. I like all of them, except collards. I may need to give them another try, but they've always tasted muddy in a bad way (not in a nice earthy way). I do switch around a bit - I tend to use kale or chard instead or along with spinach in a lot of cooked applications - especially soup since it reheats and holds up better. Chard can be up to a dollar cheaper per bunch (and for a larger bunch) than kale so I usually buy the cheapest green.I love escarole, but I don't find it in the store ever - only for a short season at the farmers market (and then only if I show up early).

              2 Replies
              1. re: corneygirl

                Sounds like they were improperly cleaned, to me. They have many crevices where dirt and grit can hide. I rinse them in several changes of water before I prepare them.

                The late Justin WIlson remembered a friend who grew many rows of collards. They washed them on the rinse cycle of their washing machine.

                Also, if the tough stems weren't properly removed, I think they have an unpleasant taste.

                How were they prepared?

                The nicest thing anybody ever said about my cooking was when a native Southerner said to me (born and raised in Cincinnati by a Kentucky woman) that my collards were "better than my mammy's."

                1. re: jmckee

                  I've made them a couple ways - sautéed down and also in a soup. They weren't gritty it was just kind of a muted flavor - sort of like mustard greens, but without bitterness (I like bitter flavors). It has been a while and I have eaten a LOT more greens over the last few years. If you're willing to share I'd love to know how you make yours - I'm open to changing my opinion!

              2. Two of my favourites are water spinach - great stir fried with garlic or blanched - and chayote squash leaves (the same way, or blanched and chilled and used in a salad.)