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Assertive Greens with Onions or Shallots and Cream

A bit of background — all leafy greens are not interchangeable. Some are delicate enough for salads; others can be tough as shoe leather. In general, though, they fall into two categories, each of which is handled differently. Within each category, though, the type of green used is pretty much interchangeable. The “tender greens” (beet greens, Swiss chard, spinach) are delicate and moisture-rich. The “assertive greens” (kale, mustard, turnips, collards) are stronger in flavor, and require added liquid as they cook.
This is a great recipe for those more assertive greens. Technique is the key. The initial shallow blanching erases some of their bitterness without robbing them of their character. It preserves their color and flavor, saves time, and allows them to be cooked more quickly.Once the greens have been blanched and drained, they can be used in any number of tasty recipes. In this one, the sweetness of the onions and the richness of the cream mellow the bitterness of the greens.

Source: Perfect Vegetables: A Best Recipe Classic, 2003, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine (Entered by Janice Matthews)
Serves: serves 4 (about 2 cups of cooked greens)

2 pounds kale, collards, mustard or turnip greens, washed and coarsely choppeped      View Available Products
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. unsalted butter
2 medium walking onions (white portion only) or shallots, chopped fine      View Available Products
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves      View Available Products
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Step by Step Instructions
  1. The essential blanching step: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a deep pot, add the salt and greens, and stir until wilted. Cover and cook until the greens are just tender (about 7 minutes). Drain in a colander. Rinse the pot with cold water, refill it with cold water, and pour in the greens to stop the cooking. Gather a handful of greens, lift out of the water, and squeeze dry. Repeat with the rest. Roughly cut each bunch of greens, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onions or shallots and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the squeezed, cut greens and stir to coat them with the butter.
  3. Stir in the cream, sugar, thyme, and nutmeg. Cover and cook until the greens are heated through (about 2 minutes). If any excess liquid remains, remove the lid and continue to simmer until the cream has thickened slightly (about 1 minute longer).
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.


Comments added by fellow market members.

thanks so much for this info about blanching the assertive greens! They are so much easier to roll and chop after the blanching, too!