Saturday, July 23, 2011

super delicious greens

Greens are my second favorite food (eggplant is numero uno), and I love them all: kale, collard, beet, mustard, spinach... Beet greens are especially mild, which makes them a good choice for kids, if you have some of those.

Beet greens and garlic
beet greens with garlic, chili, currants, and walnuts
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch beet greens - stalks and leaves coarsely chopped and separated
salt and pepper
a small handful of dried currants, figs, or dates, or a combination
1 tsp chili flakes
a large handful of chopped walnuts, briefly toasted in a dry cast-iron skillet

Cut the beet greens from their beets and wash them extra thoroughly in several sinks full of water. You really need to float the greens in sufficient water to allow the sand/grit to fall to the bottom of the sink, shake the greens around a bit, then lift the greens out (being careful not to stir up the sand from the bottom), drain the water, refill the sink, and repeat the process a few times. Drain those babies.

Cut the stalks and greens into 2 or 3-inch sections and separate into a pile of stalks and a pile of greens.

Whack the garlic with the side of a giant knife, then peel and slice or mince.

Heat the olive oil over med-high heat in a cast-iron skillet or a wok, then add a piece of garlic to be sure it's sizzly. If it is, add the rest of the garlic, then the beet stalks, and sauté until the stalks are slightly browned and delicious-looking.

Beet stalks, garlic, currants, and dates in my favorite cast-iron skillet
If you're using dates or figs, chop them coarsely and add to the sizzly pan; if you're using currants, just throw them in. Add in the chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat a bit, sauté for a minute or so, and add some olive oil if you need it - the fruit will make the stalks sticky and even more delicious-looking. The chili will take your breath away.

Add the greens a handful at a time, stirring as they wilt and adding more greens as you can. They'll shrink a lot. Be sure to sauté until there is very little liquid in the bottom of the pan. You're doing this on a pretty high heat - it's a quick process.

All together, now
Once all of the greens are added to the pan and wilted, push them aside and add the already-toasted walnuts to the empty side of the pan. Sauté them a bit, then stir together with the greens and plate it up.

Beet greens, currants, dates, and garlic with toasted walnuts - delicious
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