Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eat Local: Sauteed Summer Greens

It's finally summer here in Connecticut and for many of us that means the start of a local CSA farm share.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, meaning that the public can purchase a share of a farm's harvest in exchange for monetary support that allows the farm to grow.  CSA members get to pick up what's ripe for the picking each week, meaning they will be eating the freshest seasonally available food.

This week my CSA share from Sub Edge Farm in Farmington/Avon was filled with greens of all kinds - Tokyo Benaka lettuce, escarole, rainbow chard, kale, collards, and broccolini, along with some sugar snap peas and garlic.  I did not grow up eating greens outside of a few varieties of lettuce.  Until I met my Texas-born husband I don't know if I had even heard the term "greens", let alone laid eyes on these large-leafed plants.  In the almost-16 years I've known him, I've learned how to cook them properly through some definite trial and error.  My favorite is an easy recipe requiring just a few ingredients, and I used a mix of collards and rainbow chard, plus fresh garlic and garlic scapes (the green stem portion of the garlic plant) that were in my share this week.

Sauteed Summer Greens

10 leaves of collards and chard, ribs removed and sliced into ribbons
2 T olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 garlic scapes, diced (if you don't have these, use another clove of garlic instead)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add your raw greens to the pot and let them cook for about 5 minutes to soften them.  Transfer to a colander and allow the excess liquid to run off.  In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and scapes, stirring them frequently to prevent them from burning.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the mixure is soft and fragrant.  Add drained greens to the skillet and toss with the shallot mixture, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 15 minutes, turning and mixing occasionally, allowing the greens to soften more and brown slightly.  The greens are done when they are the consistency of cooked spinach - I always take a bite to taste test for done-ness.

What started as a bunch of thick, tough and somewhat bitter raw leaves will be wittled down to an enjoyable, mellow, completely flavorful side dish.  Serve them with grilled chicken or steak for a nice round meal.  If you are not part of a CSA this year, most local farm shops will have greens available right now, as well as at the weekly farmers markets held around the state.

Written by Kristen Skelton of Milo and Molly.  Kristen runs her business while staying at home with her two small children. Fueled by an endless supply of tea, she sews late into the night when the house is quiet, most often accompanied by her faithful poodle, Casey.

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