This is the season for dark, leafy greens – collards, mustard, beet, kale, even cabbage! While in Northern California, we can get dark leafy greens pretty much all year-round, they grow best in cooler weather, making fall and winter the best seasons to eat them. For today’s recipe, we were inspired by the beautiful pre-washed braising greens that we found at the Happy Boys Farm farmers’ market stands this weekend (see our first photo).
Greens are high in so many nutrients and so tasty that we can’t help featuring them often. They are rich in both minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins (folate and other B vitamins, K, C, and E). They also provide the phytonutrients beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems. They even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats.
This Italian-inspired recipe would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving table, and could also be used with lightly pre-steamed broccoli. It is one of the quickest greens recipe that we’ve published over the years. First, it uses baby greens, which are less time-intensive. It also uses pre-washed greens, which greatly cuts down on the prep time. If you can’t get to a farmer’s market, consider using pre-washed bagged greens, available in many supermarkets.
Garlicky Sautéed Greens
Makes 6 servings
Folate per serving: between 20 – 60 mcg (5-15% RDA)
- 1 & 1/2 lb. mixed, pre-washed braising greens (collards, kale, mustard, beet, turnip), cut on the short side into 1-inch strips
- 1 TBS cooking olive oil
- 3-6 cloves garlic, depending upon taste, very thinly sliced
- 1/4 TSP crushed red pepper, or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock + more as needed
- 1 – 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, to finish
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, to finish
- Heat oil in large skillet until warm but not smoking. Add minced garlic and sauté until soft and slightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic – it can turn very quickly.
- Add crushed red pepper and stir briefly with spoon.
- Add a handful of greens, stirring constantly. Add another handful of leaves as the first batch wilts slightly – continue until all greens have been added.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in chicken stock.
- Steam greens in stock until chicken stock is absorbed and the greens are cooked through but still bright green and retain some shape (about 4-8 minutes, depending upon greens).
- Remove from heat, and stir in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
- Serve immediately.
Optional cooking additions: For a slightly nutty flavor, add 2-3 tbs. of toasted pine nuts before serving. For a Sicilian twist, add 3-4 tbs. of raisins with the stock and then add the toasted pine nuts before serving.
Nutritional cooking tip: Greens need to be slightly cooked in order to absorb the iron they contain, but not cooked so long that the folate is destroyed.
Source of nutritional information: http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199