Essential Seasonal Greens
Seasonal greens are perfect as a side, snack, or sandwich Topper
I love braised greens. When they are blanched and cooked perfectly, they can last for days and make a tasty and healthy addition to many dishes. The following dish we serve with our southern dishes (brisket, bbq chicken, fried catfish). I like them on a sandwich or mixed into scrambled eggs for an extra flavorful breakfast.
The trick to getting this one right is blanching the greens before adding flavors. If this doesn't happen, your greens will turn a pale brownish-green and lose so much goodness. Blanching is very simple and is one of those chef secrets.
Blanching correctly is about not losing heat and cooling very fast, so get the largest pot you can find and fill it 3/4 full. Regardless of how many greens you are planning to blanch, a large pot of boiling water will suit you well. Bring the water to boil with 1½ cups of kosher salt per gallon of water.
In a pinch, you don't need the salt. Not using salt will sacrifice some flavor and won't preserve the color as well. When traveling, large quantities of salt can be hard to come by. Alternative seasonings can work (soy, miso, garlic).
Create a way to cool the greens fast. Use up that ice in the freezer and create an ice water bath. Ice is another ingredient in short supply while vacationing, but we need a way to cool those greens fast.
If you are going to miss that second cocktail because of the worlds largest braised greens ice bath, fill up two bowls of the coldest tap water and change flip the greens back and forth to cool them quickly.
Once the water is boiling, drop your greens in the pot, stir for about one minute (until the green stems are slightly tender), and then chill in the ice bath. The greens should still have that brilliant green.
Pro tip: always blanch greens of similar types and sizes. Blanch all the kale and then blanch all the mustard greens.
Now that we have our greens blanched, we can add a world of flavors. For this side, let us get to completing the dish.
1 pound of blanched greens (we use mustard, kale, and sauteéd fennel)
1/2 cup flavorful liquid (soup base, chicken, vegetable, or beef broth)
1/2 cup onion or leeks (we use leeks at Trip Nosh), chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili flakes or 1 Tablespoon of your favorite fresh chili minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons light-colored vinegar (rice, white wine, sherry, or champagne)
1 Tablespoon butter (room temperature) or olive oil
- In a medium saucepan, combine the flavorful liquid, onion, garlic, brown sugar, and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add the chili, greens, black pepper, salt, and vinegar. Then remove from the heat.
- Once the mixture is temperate, mix in the butter and transfer to a container for storage or serve.
This dish is easily made at home and, if hitting the road, will keep for several hours without refrigeration. If you plan to travel without refrigeration for more than five hours, double the vinegar.
These greens are great cold or warm. We pair them with our brisket dinner topped with fried onions, and they go great on sliced pork sandwiches.