February 2, 2017

3 Ways To Make Greens Less Routine

Breaking away from the usual greens can make a dish more interesting.

For students in culinary academy, it can be easy to fall into a rut when it comes to your choice of greens. After all, there’s nothing wrong with kale or spinach. However, when you try fresh, new greens it can open up exciting possibilities for your cooking. Here are three delicious ways to put different greens to work in your dishes.

1. Use dandelion greens to balance mussels
Dandelion greens have a bitter taste that makes them perfect for matching up with saltiness and sweetness of mussels. The Kitchn offered a way to bring these two elements together, along with pasta. Start by cleaning two pounds of mussels, making sure they’re all debearded and closed.

Boil water, add salt and cook linguine. At the same time, saute chopped onion in olive oil. When the onion becomes translucent, throw in sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes to cook for about 30 seconds.

Place mussels in the skillet along with a cup of beer or white wine and cover. Shake the pan twice as the clams cook over the next five minutes. If any of the shells don’t open, throw them away.

Add sliced dandelion greens and stir while they cook until wilted. Transfer the drained linguine into the pan. Finish the dish off with a tablespoon of lemon juice, plus salt and pepper.

2. Accompany chickpeas and poached eggs with Swiss chard
The nutrient-packed Swiss chard can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as a recipe from Bon Appetit that combines the greens with chickpeas and poached eggs. Plan ahead and soak the chickpeas overnight. When it’s time to cook, start by browning half a lemon, half an onion and two cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chickpeas and two bay leaves, covering with an inch of water. When the water reaches a boil, skim off the top and reduce the heat to a simmer. After half an hour, add salt and cook until the chickpeas grow tender.

While the chickpeas cook, use a separate skillet to saute onion, a Fresno chili, garlic, the spice blend baharat and salt. After 10 minutes, stir in the ribs and stems from the chard. Cook another eight minutes, and then move the chickpeas into the skillet, covering with the cooking liquid.

Simmer the mixture as you slowly stir in a few chard leaves at a time. Add dried barberries or cranberries and cook another five to eight minutes. Make a series of indentations in the mixture and add an egg to each, cooking for 10 minutes.

Cover the pan and cook another two minutes. Look for the whites to solidify, while the yolk remains soft, and season with salt. Serve with Greek yogurt, marjoram leaves and pepper.

Don't just throw the leaves from carrots away.

3. Turn carrot tops into pesto
When most people prepare carrots, they just chop off the leaves and toss them in the trash. Next time, put them to use in a pesto. Cookbook author Diane Morgan provided NPR with a quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for pasta or as a dip for vegetables. First, toast a few tablespoons of pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet in an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the nuts become lightly browned over the next five to eight minutes, place a cup of carrot leaves with the stems removed in a food processor. Mince them with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and salt. Add the nuts and pulse, and then do the same with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Greens are frequently treated as an afterthought, but anyone earning a culinary arts certificate online should be aware of how they can affect the taste and presentation of a dish. Explore the produce section at your local market, and try a new green in your next meal.