A Bit About Cooking Greens

Swiss Chard, $3 lb

Swiss Chard, the Multivitamin of the Garden

Greens can seem intimidating, but with a little experience, you’ll be throwing them in everything.  And it’s worth the time, because these babies are packed with vitamins K, A, and C, magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.  Who needs Centrum?  But, how do you transform these huge leaves into a delicious dinner?

First, I’ve learned that greens are fairly interchangeable, particularly beet greens, spinach and Swiss chard.  So, if you see a recipe with a green and you are holding a different green in your hand…use it without a second thought.  It will work out just fine.

To get started, try this simple recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison.  It’s quick and easy enough to become a regular in your kitchen, too!

Greens with Potatoes

4 boiling or Yellow Finn potatoes, about 1 pound


1 to 2 pounds greens, stems trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tomatoes, if in season, peeled and diced

Cover the potatoes with cold water, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil.  Cook until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain, them peel and coarsely chop.

Simmer greens in a large skillet using this method:  Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in the skillet, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the greens.  Simmer, uncovered, turning the leaves until all are tender, 5 t0 20 minutes.  Drain, then toss them with olive oil (or butter) and season with salt and pepper (to taste).  You might need to do this in two batches.

Return the skillet to the stove, add oil, and heat with the garlic and pepper flakes. When you can smell the garlic, add potatoes and greens (and tomatoes, if using).  Cook over medium heat, breaking up the potatoes with a fork and mashing them into the greens to make a kind of rough hash.  Taste for salt and serve with olive oil drizzled over the top.


p.s. This dish goes nicely with barley.  Yum.