Greens: Spinach, Kale, chard, endive, and chicory
There are two basic ways of cooking greens if you are going to eat them as a side dish.
How to Braise Your Greens:
One of the simplest ways to cook greens, which works best for sweet, tender greens like spinach and chard, is to braise them:
- Wash them and tear into smaller pieces.
- Set them in a colander to drain.
- Mince a clove of garlic. Slowly cook (do not brown) the garlic in a tablespoon or two of olive oil; when it has changed color, add the greens & mix well.
- Cover and braise on slow heat until done (10-15 minutes or so). Add some salt & pepper if you wish.
The vegetables come out almost creamy. Divine!
How to Blanche Your Greens:
This second technique works well for all vegetables.
- Wash them well, drop them in a pan of boiling water. Cook them until almost done; cooking time varies, so taste them to see.
- When almost done, take your vegetables out of the water, run cold water over them to stop the cooking and squeeze them dry. Reserve some of the cooking water.
- When greens are cool, cut them or tear them into smaller pieces.
You can later either:
1. Serve them at room temperature with just a drizzle of good olive oil and perhaps a little bit of lemon juice.
2. Mince a clove or so of garlic. Cook it briefly in some olive oil. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Add greens. Add some of the water. Cook on med-high heat for 3-4 minutes until the water is mostly evaporated and the flavors all amalgamated.
3. Make Creamy Pasta with Blanched Greens. This one is a favorite of ours. We make it every Christmas Eve.