24 Jan 13 at 6:32 AM #3215
There are few foods that make you feel like you are doing something good for yourself while you are eating them—winter greens are one of those foods. Yes, kale is having her moment in the spotlight right now, and it is a wonderful, healthful green—we consume loads of cavolo nero, or Tuscan kale this time of year; braised, in soups, risottos, salads and sautés—but tonight it’s spicy, snappy mustard greens. Their zippy, peppery, slightly bitter flavor brings a welcome brightness to cold winter days.
Any winter greens can be used in this manner, just be aware that the sturdier greens such as collards need a longer cooking time, and braising may be a better way to go.
Most greens are grown in sandy soil, and it’s wise to give them a good rinse in 2-3 changes of water. Tear the leaves into 3”-4” pieces, and dry thoroughly, as sautéing moist greens will result in spectacular splattering.
Makes about 4-6 servings
- 1 pound greens, such as chard, kale, mustard or dandelion greens, or a mix
- 1-1/4 inch slice pancetta, unrolled and cut into matchstick pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- Good Olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chili paste or chili flakes (optional)
- Lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil until it shimmers. Add the pancetta pieces, and fry until slightly browned, but not crispy—they will continue to cook with the greens.
2. Begin adding greens by the handful—the pan will fill quickly, but the greens will lose most of their volume as they cook. Using tongs, begin turning the greens, allowing them to be coated by the hot oil. After approximately half of the greens have been added to the pan, add a little more oil and toss in the garlic slices. Sauté the garlic until pale gold, being careful not to let it burn. Add the rest of the greens as the space in the pan allows.
3. Once all the greens are wilted, add salt & pepper to taste, and turn off the heat. A small spoonful of chili paste or dried chili flakes at this point adds a bit of pleasant heat—be sure to toss well to distribute the chilies evenly. Just before serving, a quick splash of red wine vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice brighten the flavor of this dish. Serve hot or room temperature.
This recipe is versatile as a side dish for sausages or pork chops as we had for dinner tonight, or as a topper for creamy polenta.
You can also use it as the base for baked eggs in cream—place ¼ cup sautéed greens in the bottom of an ovenproof ramekin, crack an egg over the greens, pour in just enough cream to cover the egg white and top with a bit of chopped chive and a grind of black pepper (add a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano if you’re feeling really decadent). Place in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until whites are set and yolk is still soft.
24 Jan 13 at 8:05 PM #3218
Sarah Opal TwamleyParticipant
Great recipe! My version would omit the pancetta and throw in some mushrooms for veggie style. I am pro-greens (green smoothies) and am thrilled when others have simple and delicious ways of preparing them available for others to see. If only more Americans would dust-off their kitchen utensils and throw some fresh “living” produce in a pan (or enjoy raw) and begin eating at home, we may not need as many hospitable rooms!
I share articles for a wine and pizza restaurant here in San Diego, may I post your article Mrs. Horne?
Sarah Opal Twamley
Opal Living | www.OpalLiving.com
25 Jan 13 at 5:30 AM #3222
Thanks for the feedback; I’m happy to share recipes, especially with fellow enthusiasts! I have also prepared a meat-free version of this dish, sauteeing up slices from half an onion til golden brown, then adding the greens. The result is a sweeter flavor, but it balances nicely with the chilies. I’ve not added mushrooms before, but I’ll definitely try it next time!
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