As the cooler temperatures of fall arrive, farmer’s markets fill up with an abundance of hearty greens. Each leafy green vegetable has its unique flavor profile, is packed with nutrients, and deserves a place on your dinner table. Read on to discover these new ways to cook them.
Firm and peppery, with kind of a bitter edge, Kale is the star of superfoods since a few years. Blanch (plunge in boiling water for a few minutes and cool immediately into ice coldwater) and sauté lightly in a little olive oil or butter. Add raw kale to your soups, stews, and braises. If you want to serve it as a quick salad, shred it very thinly and drizzle with a strongly flavored dressing (walnut oil and red wine vinegar).
Swiss chard is almost sweet, with a vegetal earthiness. You can eat both the hearty stems and leaves. A very classic way to enjoy swiss chard is as a gratin, with bechamel sauce and cheese. Add to your soups and stews. If using stems, add them first because they take longer than the leaves to cook. For a unique frittata or quiche filling experience, steam, squeeze dry, and chop.
This slightly bitter greens with sweet, crunchy white parts are best used raw in salads. If you prefer it warm, cook with onion in broth, then purée into a comfy soup. Chop and add to white bean soup. An last but not least, cut in quarters and braise with chicken stock or grill.
Delicate, with a mild crunch, the famous Chinese cabbage is good for soaking up other flavors from surrounding ingredient. Cut into 2-inch pieces and stir-fry or steam with fish or shrimp. Try it Japanese style, grille and basted with a miso glaze. For a more traditional twist, cut in wedges and braise in butter and vegetable broth or chicken stock.
Mustard greens have a tender and herbal taste with a horseradish-like bite. Sauté shredded leaves with garlic in olive oil or butter until softened and tender. Add sugar, salt, vinegar, and hot sauce and serve as a pickle to accompany rich meats. Works wonders as a spicy finish for pork or beef stews!
(Image: Zlatko Unger, under Creative Common)