Eat Your Greens: An Essential Guide to Five Leafy Favorites - FineCooking.com

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Eat Your Greens: An Essential Guide to Five Leafy Favorites

From left to right: bok Choy, dandelion greens, rainbow chard, collard greens, and Tuscan kale.

From left to right: bok Choy, dandelion greens, rainbow chard, collard greens, and Tuscan kale.

  • From left to right: bok Choy, dandelion greens, rainbow chard, collard greens, and Tuscan kale.

By Fine Cooking Editors, editor

May 5th, 2010

by Susie Middleton
from Fine Cooking #105, p. 58-65

To me, shopping at the farmers’ market is like a treasure hunt—I always come home with a great find. And at this time of year, I get particularly excited when I see all those bunches of leafy greens on display. They just seem to scream “fresh,” and I want to buy one of each right then and there. You could do that. Or you could buy one at a time, probably the better strategy. It’s a great way to discover a new green and add a few easy dishes to your weeknight repertoire. See my "Tips for Great Greens" below and watch the Test Kitchen's video for quick tips on trimming kale; the method demonstrated works equally well for chard and collards.

Maybe start with Tuscan kale, which has a mellower, nuttier flavor than regular kale. Small heads of bok choy are sweet and incredibly adaptable. Each of the neon colors of rainbow chard has a different flavor; together, they make for a gorgeous side dish. Nothing’s more elegant (or flavorful) than the long, lanky leaves of dandelion greens. And even old-fashioned collard greens become a decidedly modern side dish when sliced thin and sautéed superfast.

These five make a great introduction to the world of greens, each unique and surprisingly versatile. And they don’t get any better than they are now, so let the hunt begin.

Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Basil Tuscan Kale with Shallots and Crisp Salami
Rainbow Chard with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Basil   Tuscan Kale with Shallots and Crisp Salami
Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Ginger, and Scallions Quick-Sautéed Collard Ribbons
Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Ginger, and Scallions   Quick-Sautéed Collard Ribbons
Creamy Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin Tips for Great Greens

Don’t undercook or overcook There’s a sweet spot where most greens have a perfectly palatable texture (past rubbery-undercooked and before mushy-overcooked). Get in the habit of tasting greens as you cook them to learn what their optimal texture is.

Pair with sweet, tangy, spicy, and salty flavors Most greens have a mild mineral quality that smooths out with the addition of a little sweetness and acidity. Aromatics like ginger, garlic, and shallots also help, as does a salty, meaty kick from a bit of bacon or salami, or a soothing touch of cream.
Creamy Dandelion Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin    

Photos: Amy Neunsinger

posted in: Blogs, greens, Tuscan kale, collards, Rainbow chard, baby bok choy, dandelion greens
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