Leafy Greens Made Easy

Illustration by Cyndi Coon

At this time of year, while half of the country is covered in snow and ice, those of us in Arizona are enjoying abundant gardens. The raised beds are providing us with an overflow of herbs and leafy greens. Wondering why you listened to the guy at the garden store when he told you to plant all these greens that taste a bit bitter? And now you have more than you know what to do with?

Get the secrets to leafy greens after the jump.

The recipe that follows was made with broad leaf kale but you could substitute with any leafy green such as mustard or collard greens, bok choy or beet tops. The real secret to cooking the greens is to always blanch them first -- this takes the chewiness down a notch. The other thing to do is always add a sprinkle of nutmeg to take the bitterness away, then add salt to the mix, and you'll have some tasty goodness on your hands.

Also, using cheese with leafy greens is always a hit. Gruyere offers the very best mix with them but it is also very pricey, so for a thrifty option try Emmenthaler Swiss.

Baked Kale

- Kale (a very large bunch - it really cooks down)
- Onion (one medium)
- Olive Oil (2 tblsp)
- Ham (pre-cooked slab)
- Nutmeg (1/2 a tspn)
- Gruyere or Emmenthaler Swiss cheese
- Salt and Pepper

1. Wash and de-stem the kale
2. Blanch the kale in a large pot of boiling water

Photo: Cyndi Coon

3. Remove from the water after 5 minutes and press water out into a tea towel, set kale aside
Photo: Cyndi Coon

4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
5. Cut a whole onion into chunks
6. Heat olive oil a large frying pan
7. Add onions and sauté until clear
8. Place onions into the bottom of a backing pan
Photo: Cyndi Coon

9. Cut ham into strips and place on top of onions in the baking pan
Photo: Cyndi Coon

10. Place kale on top of ham, sprinkle with nutmeg and salt and pepper
Photo: Cyndi Coon

11. Grate cheese and cover kale with it
Photo: Cyndi Coon

12. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.

Serve Hot

Photo: Cyndi Coon

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