Cooking With Leafy Greens

Meet the antioxidant-rich leaf brigade—kale, mustard greens, dandelions and more. MOIRA HODGSON creates unfussy recipes that defeat the bitterness and bring out the best in these tangy vegetables

By Moira Hodgson
LEAVES RULE ~ Mirin, tamari sauce and lemon juice dress up this braised–bok choy dish.
Photograph: Anna Williams

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 thin slices pancetta
1 bunch collard greens
1 pound small new potatoes, quartered
1 clove garlic, chopped
Coarse sea salt and freshly
ground pepper to taste
White or red wine vinegar to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet, and fry the pancetta slices until they are crisp and browned. Drain them on paper towels, and when they are cool, crumble them with your fingers.
2. Tear the collard leaves from their center ribs. Blanch the leaves in salted boiling water, and drain them in a colander. Squeeze out the excess liquid. Cut the leaves into ribbons about 1 inch wide.
3. Meanwhile, steam the potato -quarters until they are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy skillet, and soften the garlic. Add the greens, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, and cook until they are heated through. Season with salt (not too much, because the pancetta is salty) and pepper, and a few splashes of vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with the crumbled pancetta, and serve.

 

TUSCAN KALE AND -TOMATO SALAD WITH PINE NUTS

Choose tender young kale. Leaves that are thick and large will be tough when eaten raw.

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus
30 minutes for marinating
Makes 4 side or 2 main dishes

1 bunch tender Tuscan kale or curly kale (about ¾ pound)
1 large shallot (or ¼ cup), chopped fine
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (½ dry pint)
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
½ cup Pecorino-cheese shavings

1. Tear the kale leaves from their center ribs, and cut them crosswise into thin shreds.
2. Combine the shallot, vinegar and olive oil in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and add more vinegar if necessary. Add the shredded kale, and toss so the leaves are coated with the dressing. Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature, tossing from time to time, so the kale softens.
3. Add the tomatoes and pine nuts, and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter the Pecorino over the salad, and serve.

MOIRA HODGSON’s memoir, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Anchor), is just out in paperback.

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Want more recipes? Check out Delighting in Dark Chocolate: 8 no-regrets reasons to come over to the dark side — recipes you’ll love!

First Published August 22, 2011

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