C.S.A. Newsletter Week 5
As a kid, I always thought “greens” meant a spoonful of bitter, sopping wet spinach from a can. (Yep, I have southern roots.) Now that I spend most of my time with vegetables, I’ve come to a much better appreciation of greens.
“Greens,” in truth, refers generally to any type of edible leaf. A short stroll outside will give you a small view of how many varieties of leaves there must be in the world, and a great many of them are edible. Of the edible types, appearance and flavor vary magnificently. Think about how feathery, spicy mizuna is nothing like wide, flat, mildly sweet spinach. Once you get to know your leaves, you start to notice all their good qualities and how the character of one leaf varies from that of another.
The most straightforward way to deal with a leaf is to classify it into one of two categories: is it tender, or hardy? After recognizing a leaf’s character, it becomes quite easy to know how to use it to bring out its best qualities. Tender, mild greens (like arugula, spinach, or lettuce) are usually best used fresh in salad, or lightly wilted. Today you have two hardy greens in your box: chard and chicory. Hardy greens are tougher leaves with strong flavor. They lend themselves well to cooking, which softens the texture and mellows out the flavor. Certainly you can slice them raw to make a salad or to add directly to hot grains or pasta if you like big-boom flavor and texture. If you’re shy of greens, however, it’s probably best to cook them. You can simmer them into a stew (add sliced greens last, after the soup is finished and the heat is turned off, but the broth is still hot); ; simmer, drain, and layer them into lasagna; braise or stir fry them to serve with grains, beans or meat, and a good sauce, maybe wrapped in a burrito or spooned onto a warm pita; toss them into a pan of other roasting vegetables for the last 10 minutes to crisp them up. Bon appétit!
2 lb. Potatoes
Sugarloaf Chicory: This is best sliced, coated with olive oil and salt, and grilled. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. You could add chèvre and chopped bacon, or a handful of tart dried cherries or cranberries, plumped in hot water.
Chard: To make a Swiss chard and Ricotta Frittata: Sauté an onion with a pinch of salt in 1 Tbsp. oil about 8 minutes. Add 8 oz. chopped chard and ¼ c. water, cover, and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, 5-7 minutes until all the excess liquid has evaporated. Spread the mixture in an oiled pie plate. Whisk together 4 eggs, ¾ c. ricotta, 1 Tbsp. chopped basil and ½ tsp. salt. Pour the egg mix over the chard and bake at 400 F for 25 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Recipe from Vegetarian by Liana Krissoff.