Late-Harvest Greens

Greens are easy to cook and so, so good!

By FamilyTime

 Lush bunches of Swiss chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, and beet greens are fresh in the markets in great quantity in the fall. They look so inviting, it’s hard not to buy them. 

Why hesitate? When cooked correctly they are absolutely delicious as accompaniments to roast meats and pan-cooked fish. Don't let the size of the bunches scare you. They shrink when cooked.  You know this if you have ever cooked fresh spinach. 

How to Cook Greens
Greens can be steamed, wilted, or added to soups and stews. Begin with freshly washed leaves; discard tough stems and any shriveled or leathery outer leaves. (Soak the greens in a sink or bowl full of cold water to clean them.) A little water clinging to the leaves helps them cook.

Steaming: Put an inch or so of water in the bottom of large pan with a tight-fitting lid or in a steamer. When the water boils, pile the greens in a steaming basket and cook, tightly covered, until tender.

Spinach will steam in less than a minute; Swiss chard in three to five minutes. Turnip, mustard and beet greens require about 10 minutes, while kale and collard greens require 15 to 20 minutes.

Wilting: This is an excellent way to cook greens. Begin with a tablespoon or two of fat in a large skillet -- classically bacon fat, although butter and olive oil work well, too.

When the fat is hot, add a generous handful of torn greens and let them cook for about a minute over medium heat. The leaves will wilt so that you can add the next handful.

Keep adding the greens until all are wilted. Stir the cooking greens, tossing the first ones with later batches.

Dressing up the Greens
For variety, toss some chopped garlic or shallots in the pan just before putting in the greens.

When the greens are cooked, toss them with crisp bacon, pancetta, pine nuts, or roasted cashews. Season them with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar or fruity olive oil as well as salt and pepper.

Wilted and steamed greens are great tossed with pasta and stirred into rice dishes.

Add them to vegetable or bean soups and stews this winter by stirring handfuls of torn greens into the simmering pots. The greens will wilt quickly and add fresh flavor.

The dark leafy greens are good for you, but best of all, they taste great!