Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cooking chard and other greens

At this time of year, here in Ontario, it’s hard to find locally-grown lettuce. The spring and early summer crops have expired in the heat, and the late summer/fall stuff isn’t ready yet.

Very optimistically I planted two rows of mixed lettuce just last week. Considering that last year’s attempt didn’t even give me a sprout, I am optimistic indeed. But I have learned a thing or two in the interim. I will let you know if I see signs of life.

So, in the absence of lettuce and other soft greens, I am really digging into the red and green chard, spinach, bok choy, and kale (all locally grown). Isn’t it funny how those things either didn’t appear on the menus of our childhood or, like spinach, were boiled to a frightful mass and we were told to eat it – OR ELSE!
With these greens I usually take a light approach, as follows.

Heat a spoonful of olive oil in a frying pan
Add chopped green onions and chopped garlic
When they are soft and browning, toss in as much of the greens as you want to eat (they will shrink considerably in the cooking), well washed and torn to bite-size pieces.
Cook for one or two minutes
Add a splash of soy sauce and a bit of water or chicken stock
Stir for another minute or two.

Plain, simple, easy. Absolutely delicious.


Jayne said...

Good information, but sadly too late for me. I was recently gifted with a nice bunch of organic Swiss Chard, a green which I have never knowingly eaten, much less cooked. I saved the smallest, most tender leaves for ripping into a mixed-greens salad and dehydrated the rest for tossing into homemade soup over the winter. Next summer I might try your suggestion.

Very brave of you to be starting seeds now. In Calgary the weather is already making clear that fall has arrived - it might even snow tonight - so we won't be starting anything any time before next spring.

Donis Casey said...

You fix your garden greens the same way I do! It couldn't be easier or better for you. I like to sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds, sometimes. Or try them with a little toasted sesame oil. And speaking of lettuce, my mother used to make a 'wilted salad', with early lettuce greens, green onion, and radish tossed together in a bowl, then she'd pour hot bacon grease over it instead of a dressing. sounds weird, but was scrumptious.