As farmers markets begin to burst with produce, I’m having a grand time with greens.
Beet greens, long considered fodder for the compost bin, have become one of my favorite vegetables. They are packed with nutrients, but are often ignored in favor of the trendy and sweet root found at their “feet.”
I’ve also gathered up mustard greens, broccoli rabe, Malabar spinach, really whatever greens my local market has on offer. Putting together a combination of different greens is a good way to balance out the flavors — the sharp bitterness of a broccoli rabe pairs well with the sweetness of Malabar spinach; beet greens complement mustard greens, kale goes nicely with bok choy — you can mix and match as desired, or the greens can go it alone.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying a gingered up version of these, and they go with pretty much everything. A note on the garlic: I have been getting spring garlic, also known as green garlic, at the local farmers market; it looks like a very large scallion but is an actually early garlic plant; the flavor is all garlic, but it is milder than the full grown bulb and has a freshness to it. Regular cloves are a perfectly fine substitute, but if you can get your hands on this seasonal ingredient, enjoy it while you can.
Note that the cooking time will vary depending on the green; kale and collards, for example, take at least 10 minutes in the skillet, while spinach cooks in just a few minutes.
Ginger-rific Spring Greens
Serves 4 generously
2 large bunches greens, rinsed, trimmed and tough stems removed
1 tablespoon cooking oil like canola or grapeseed
1 green garlic stalk, white and green parts, or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-inch piece ginger, grated
1-inch piece fresh turmeric, grated, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper flakes until fragrant.
Add the greens and, using tongs, turn to coat them with the seasonings and oil.
Cover the greens and allow them to cook for about 10 minutes, turning frequently,