Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Growing up in the South meant there was always one particular leafy green vegetable on my grandmother's table: collard greens. When I was very small I would eat them. I liked them doused with vinegar, of course, and I like them that way today. Yes - I eat them again. I went through that "Ew, it's green and I'm not eating it stage," but that phase quickly passed, and now I like many leafy green veggies: spinach, kale, cabbage (of all kinds, if it counts), and mustard greens, too.
My grandparents grew their leafy greens, and I'm sure my dad would, too, if I asked him. So far, however, I've only eaten greens I've bought (or gotten from my next-door neighbor who had a big crop this year!) Brad and I celebrated our third anniversary last week, and to celebrate we took a quick trip to Asheville, where we ate, shopped and slept in (the baby stayed with my parents!) On our last day, right before we headed home, we hit the Western North Carolina Farmers Market, where I bought a whole mess of mustard greens. They were so pretty I couldn't help myself!
I think greens are best when they are prepared with minimum fuss. You can pile them in a pot and boil the dickens out of them then serve them with a side of vinegar, but I wanted something a bit different this week. I had olive oil and garlic on the brain so I went searching for a recipe. This is one of the first I found, and it was exactly what my taste buds were yearning for. Blanched, to keep the bright green color, then quickly braised with water, olive oil and garlic. My mustard greens were fresh, bright-tasting and a perfect side to our honey-mustard-roasted chicken thighs. Brad even tried and liked them, which means they really are good. Try them out on your picky eater or keep them to yourself. You won't be disappointed!
Braised Mustard Greens with Garlic
Adapted from Gourmet
* 1/2 pound mustard greens, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (4 cups packed
* 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/3 cup water (I replaced this with 1/3 cup chicken stock. It made all the difference!)
1. Blanch mustard greens in a pot of boiling, salted water for about 1 minute. Drain greens in a colander.
2. In same pot (wiped dry) cook garlic in oil over medium heat about 30 seconds. Add greens and water (or stock) and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.