Spring Greens

Spring is a great time to pick up greens from the farmers market or a store that stocks local produce. Organic greens often have a bit of organic dirt, which may be a healthy sign, but the grit can be unpleasant to eat. So wash all greens carefully before use. Fill a very large bowl or your clean sink with cold water and put the greens into the water. Swish them around a bit and lift them out of water allowing the dirt to settle to the bottom. You can then dry them in a salad spinner, a colander or on some clean dishtowels. Use them right away or store them in a plastic bag lined with a dishtowel. They will keep for several days this way, and the plastic bag can be reused. Each of these easy sauté recipes for greens can be used as a side dish or can be tossed with pasta as a main course.

Sautéed Chard

Makes 2–4 servings

1 bunch of chard, washed

1⁄8 cup walnut oil (you can find La Nogalera Walnut Oil at the 
farmers market and at specialty stores)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 clove of garlic, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon of salt or to taste

Chopped toasted walnuts for garnish, optional

Stem the larger leaves of the chard by folding each large leaf in half and cutting or pulling away the rib. Reserve the ribs for another use (they make a great substitute for celery in soup recipes). Slice the chard leaves into a chiffonade of slender strips.

Heat a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Pour in enough of the walnut oil to coat the bottom and add the red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Add the chard, a generous sprinkling of salt and cover the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes and then uncover and cook away any extra moisture. Serve with a sprinkling of finely chopped toasted walnuts.

Sautéed Collards or Kale

Makes 2–4 servings

You can use collards or any variety of kale for this recipe, but the thicker the leaves the longer the cooking time.

1 bunch of collards or kale, washed and stems removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion or 2 shallots, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon of salt or to taste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Chop the collard greens or kale coarsely. Heat a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Pour in enough of the olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the onion or shallot and cook until translucent. Add the kale, salt and a couple tablespoons of water and cover the pan. Cook for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the leaves. Check frequently to make sure the pan does not get too dry, and add more water if it needs it. When the greens are tender, remove the lid and add the vinegar. Stir and cook away any excess water. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and serve.

Categories Side Dishes