Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mustard Greens in a Skillet

You'd never know this was once a very large amount of mustard greens!
They cook down even more than spinach does!

That's my Calphalon 12" - 5 quart sauté pan I found at a yard sale for $1.00!

Julie and I ventured up to the Greenfield Hill farmers' market in Fairfield, CT last Saturday. We tend to go there more than the markets closer to home as the vendors there have top-notch products, a pizza truck and usually a pasta truck are in attendance, and, to top things off, our good friend Jane works at the liquor store and they have a wine tasting of top-notch wines every Saturday afternoon. This time around, I came home with some of my favorite Italian flat beans, some beautiful fresh-from-the-hen eggs - brown, white and a beautiful blue one, a huge head of red leaf lettuce, and a lot of other veggies. I was getting ready to pay for some of the veggies when, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a big mess of mustard greens. I picked them up and asked the price. The two guys checking me out just looked at me and shrugged, which made no sense until a lady came over and informed me those greens were hers she'd gotten at another one of the stands. I quickly found out which stand and bee-lined over to get my own mess. There was one mess left and the guy said they'd been his most popular veggie this week and he'd only brought them on a whim because he wasn't sure anyone would know what to do with them. Being my mother's child, I did know what to do. And that was, pick up the phone and call mom to see how to best cook 'em up as greens are a regular on her dinner table. Alas, she wasn't home the night we had them, so Miss Lauren, who joined us for dinner that night, and I guessed what to do, based on how I'd watched mom do greens in the past. They were delicious! It was Lauren's idea to add the vinegar to cut the natural bitterness and that sent the whole dish to over-the-top yumminess! (We though of adding a can of cannellini beans - love beans and greens sautéed together - but decided not to this time as we were also having skillet corn with our meal.) Hope you try this! Mustard greens are quite mustardy-tart and flavorful - delicious!

The T'nG: 

1 - 2 bunches mustard greens (add any greens you like), washed thoroughly
garlic cloves or an onion, sliced
olive oil to coat bottom f skillet
black pepper, fresh ground
salt if desired
a splash of red wine vinegar 

I cannot stress enough the importance of washing the greens very very thoroughly. Just keep in mind as you're washing and looking at each leaf, front and back, that slugs love those leaves, too! Let rinse water remain on the leaves, don't spin or shake dry. After the leaves and flowers are washed, strip the leaves from the tough lower stems and cut the stems of the flowers where they begin to get tough - much like snapping an asparagus stem off at the tough spot. Gather all the leaves together length-wise and then ribbon cut them into 1/2" - 1" wide strips. Heat oil until just smoking, throw in the garlic (what we used) and sauté for a minute to release its flavor. Throw in the greens and sauté, stirring to get all of them evenly cooked. Take off the heat and season with pepper, salt and splashes of red wine. Taste and correct seasonings. Delicious served warm or at room temperature. 


Below is a photo (borrowed, source noted, as I totally forgot to take that shot myself) of what mustard greens look like before cooking. It was amazing how much they cooked down! That skillet was entirely covered before they wilted down to what you see there. After they were cooked, the greens fit perfectly in a cereal-sized bowl. Next time I'll know to get two!

mustard greens washed and ready to be chopped, flowers and all
photo source


till we feast again!

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