Cooking Technique – Making Your Greens Taste Amazing

Tools Required: 

Chef’s Knife – A good knife is an essential tool for success in the kitchen. Contrary to what many believe, you really only need one or two good knives to get the job done. I am a strong believer in finding a knife that feels good to you so I suggest hitting up your local Williams Sonoma and asking to hold a few until you find your perfect fit. I use Global knives. They’re Japanese-made, sleek, sharp and lightweight. In other words, perfect for my dainty hands! But remember that knives like these must be hand washed!

Wooden Cutting Board – I buy these bamboo boards at IKEA! They give me a lot of prep space and the wood is much better for my knife than a plastic board. Hand wash with dish soap and hot water and dry really well.

Skillet – Heavy-bottomed, nonstick, oven-safe skillets are crucial in my kitchen. I won’t deny that All-Clad are incredible pans but for everyday affordable cookware, Calphalon makes some amazing products. I own a couple of the 10-inch and 12-inch pans and they’re just perfect! Just be sure when you’re buying skillets to look for ones without a plastic handle so that they can go into the oven. And, like your knives, keep these babies out of the dishwasher and hand wash only!

My Thought Process: 

So, here’s the deal. I haven’t always been a leafy greens lover. In fact, I still remember the first time I cooked kale. I had picked up a bunch at the farmers’ market and got home and Googled kale recipes. I had no idea what to do with it but after some research, I headed to the kitchen with the “perfect recipe.” And even though I followed the recipe to the letter, the result was mushy and bitter and tasted, well, gross. And I know I am not the only one who’s had this experience.

After my first kale encounter, I became obsessed with discovering a method to make this nutrient-packed green tasty. And once I mastered kale, I started playing around with collard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens, you name it! They all work in pretty much the same way with cooking time being the only major difference (collards take the longest with beet greens being the quickest).

For Deliciously Devourable Greens, Here’s What to Do:

Step 1: Prep Your Greens – First, I take my greens and remove them from the stem by holding at the bottom and pulling in the opposite direction. You can also run a knife down the stem or fold your green and cut it off the stem, but I find pulling it is the quickest and simplest way.

If you want to wash your greens (which I remember to do about half the time), you can either run them under cold water, give them a shake and wipe them down with a paper towel or fill the bottom part of a salad spinner with cold water, swish your greens around, drain, transfer the greens to the basket and spin away! At this point you can wrap your dried greens in a paper towel and stick them in a Ziploc bag until you’re ready to use.

Step 2: Slice Your Greens – Today we’re cooking our greens (we will go over massaging kale at another time) so you’re going to take your washed greens that have been removed from the stem and roll a leaf or two at a time into a tight bundle that looks like a cigar. Then, using your knife, thinly slice those babies into nice ribbons or a chiffonade if you’re feelin’ fancy! Repeat until you have a nice pile of thin-sliced little cuties.

Step 3: Prep Whatever Else You’re Cooking With Your Greens – For this example, we’re going with my favorite technique and adding shallot and garlic to the greens. Take a couple of garlic cloves and thinly slice. Do the same with the shallot. For Swiss chard or beets, I love using a little bit of life-changing lemon peel and some garlic.

Step 4: Cook Your Greens – Add the shallot, garlic and green of choice into the skillet. Turn to medium heat and add a little drizzle of olive oil into the pan. Season with a pinch of Celtic Salt and red pepper flakes. Let the greens cook for a minute or two, add another drizzle of olive oil and toss. The key here is to add a little oil at a time to evenly coat the greens with the oil instead of frying the bottom and steaming the top. Stir occasionally but not too much – you want your greens to caramelize and too much movement can make them mushy. This process will also end up creating an infused oil which, as you can imagine, will really flavor those greens!

Once the greens have been cooking (3-4 minutes for chard or beet greens, 5-6 minutes for your kale and collards), it’s time to give them a taste. If they need more cooking time, add a little more oil and keep cooking. If they need more salt or red pepper add those too. I usually remove them from the heat and leave them in the pan for another minute untouched to crisp up a little.

Step 5: Do A Little Happy Dance – Because your greens taste that freakin’ good! And you can add them to anything – pasta, pan-roasted chicken, rice bowls, whatever the heck you want! And we encourage your decision!

Health Tip:

Leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They’re high in fiber (to fill you up), a good source of vitamin K (for healthy bones) and rich in folic acid (great for heart health). They also help with boosting energy and curbing cravings.

I highly recommend starting your day with something green not only for the health benefits but I believe that when you start your day well, the rest of your actions seem to fall into place. My favorite breakfast is taking my amazing sautéed greens and serving them with a little rice and a fried egg. Simple and delish!

Since you’re obviously dying to make some greens taste amazing, check out our Butternut Squash Gnocchi (Vegetarian). And if you get yourself a sharp new knife, you should try the Thai Pork Curry with Zucchini Ribbons (Gluten Free) and the Eggplant Caponata (Vegetarian) to put those knife skills to work.

Happy Cooking (those Gorgeous Greens),

Kate

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