Tag Archives: side salads

Don’t Throw Them Out! Easy Sauteed Beet Greens

3 Sep

So I’m at the Greenport farm stand with Vinny, buying fresh local stuff for our Caribbean cooking extravaganza (see chipotle jerk slow cooker chicken if you haven’t already) and just for dinner in general. Vinny selects some beets for grilling which is new for me and therefore very exciting. But I am not distracted enough by this to miss the shocking fact that Vinny has told the nice woman at the farm stand to go ahead and cut off and discard the beet greens, which she does.

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that's when the beet greens are best too!

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that’s when the beet greens are best too!

“Wait!,” I say, when I find my voice. “You are not gonna take those?”

“What do you do with them?” asks Vinny.

And he is drowned in words, as I and the nice woman at the farmstand tell him — at the same time — how delicious they are and how good for you and how easy to prepare. Vinny is always game for a new adventure, so we take the greens back with my promise that I will show him how to do them.

This veg adds color and texture to your plate. They have their own natural saltiness.

This veg adds color and texture to your plate. They have their own natural saltiness.

Beet greens, which should be removed about an inch above the root as soon as you have a chance, are full of folate, phosphorus, zinc, and a bunch of other good nutrients They are low glycemic and filling, and for more on the nutrients, click here. While beetroot will keep in the fridge, beet greens should be used quickly. They are super tasty and make for a fast vegetable side. Plus, you pay for them! Why aren’t you using them?

The greens, which admittedly cook down to nothing, were a big success and Vinny also kept reminding me to put it up on the blog. So here it is! (for a fancier recipe that incorporates roots and greens, click here)

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil...and that's just what I did after taking this photo.

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil…and that’s just what I did after taking this photo.

Sauteed Beet Greens

1 bunch beet greens (cut from beets about an inch from the root bulb)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic (or ½ Tbs) minced

Salt to taste

Chop the greens roughly (or not, if you like a longer leaf), removing the tougher stalks. You can roll them up and slice strips too. Thoroughly rinse and spin the beet greens.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium, letting the garlic get golden without toasting. Add beet greens, stir to coat and cook on medium until completely wilted and tender (you may need to add a Tbs of water if things get too dry). Salt to taste and serve.


Easy Summer-Squash Slaw (remoulade of zucchini and yellow squash)

3 Jul

Summer squashes are starting to appear in farmer’s markets (and, in the case of zucchini/courgettes, in my garden!) …so…since they tend to be very prolific and an integral part of weekly farm shares all summer long and are also cheap in supermarkets at this time of year — it is time to start getting good recipes together!

Summer squashes — which include yellow squash, also called marrow; yellow crookneck squash; and zucchini, also called courgettes — are pretty good for you according to Self.com, are delicious, and lend themselves to many great dishes, So there is no reason to be sick of them by August or to refuse your neighbors’ offers of extra bounty when they get overwhelmed with what they’ve grown.

Don't peel the squashes; part of the appeel (sic) of this salad is the hint of color!

Don’t peel the squashes; part of the appeel (sic) of this salad is the hint of color!

Mind you, I may have fewer than anticipated…some critter, which may or may not be the cutworm, sliced off several of my zucchini flowers before they could produce the magic green wands….grrrrrrr.

Some of the recipes I have offered before for these garden giants are Zucchini Corn Fritters, Zucchini Fritters with Manchego and Rosemary, and Sauteed Summer Squash with Oregano and Lemon,

Today I went for something different – a quickie slaw alternative called remoulade, like the French classic Celeriac remoulade. This one integrates the garden vegetables that most lend themselves to grating. You can mix and match them however you like!

The Perfect Summer Side

The Perfect Summer Side

Easy Summer Squash Remoulade

(makes side salad for 2; multiply recipe for a crowd!)

2 Cups mix and match: zucchini/yellow squash/hakurai turnip/mild radish, grated with a large hole grater.

Squeeze of lemon*

1 Tbs grated red onion

1-2 Tbs prepared mayonnaise

1 tsp your preferred smooth mustard

Generous pinch salt

Pinch of freshly grated black pepper, if desired

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as an alternative to cole slaw.

*If there will be a lag between grating the vegetables and making the remoulade, add lemon juice to the waiting vegetables to prevent browning.

Quickie Criollo Tomato and Avocado Salad (great side for spicy, salty or otherwise highly seasoned food)

3 Oct

A go-to side for spicy creole cooking!

This is a super-quick, healthy side dish that we use in the Caribbean to accompany really salty stuff, like bacalao (salt cod) dishes, or to cool the palate between bites of something spicy. It goes wonderfully with creole soups, or as the lightest, yet most satisfying of dinners when you don’t want to fuss (A hard-boiled egg or a scoop of tuna would be a fine protein accompaniment). The colors and slices lend themselves to festive; this dish looks like a party, even if it’s just a party of one.
We had it tonight with a mini-tortilla española (potato and egg stovetop frittata) I made while doing a bigger sized one for our Restoration Farm potluck on Sunday, green salad and some string beans blanched and then sauteed with garlic and oil (and a bit of bacon fat, truth be told).

Quickie Tomato and Avocado Salad

1 ripe avocado (responds to pressure, but isn’t totally mushy*), sliced into eight wedges and peeled

1 ripe tomato, cut into eight wedges

¼ red onion, peeled and sliced thinly, lengthwise

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Salt for sprinkling

Freshly cracked pepper, if desired

Arrange avocado and tomato wedges on a small plate, alternating

Scatter red onion on top. Drizzle olive oil as desired.

Sprinkle salt and optional black pepper and serve cold

*Buying avocado is not easy, I know! Lately I have had a 50-50 record of success with the little black Hass ones, despite my years of practice. I don’t know what’s up with that, but the general rule is to buy it hard and stick it in a paper bag — with an apple, if you’ve got — for a couple of days. If you are buying an avocado for the very same day, look for something that yields to pressure, but doesn’t totally mush. If it is ripe but you are not ready to use it, it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Broccoli Rabe with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins (Spicy option!)

4 Sep

There is a certain complication to being a food writer. People assume you know a whole lot more about food than you actually do or that you have a recipe file in your head with complete access to what-to-do with every ingredient in nano-seconds.

So some unusual vegetable comes up at CSA distribution and folks want to know what to do with it, like, right now, as I am trying to divide 3/4 lb of string beans in my head and talk to Allison and keep track of my four-year-old fireball, who has to go potty. Now.

Uh…em…of course: I don’t effen know! Rachael and Martha and Alton have legions of minions to make them look all-knowing. Me? Nada…

So this time it was Steve (known as Farmer Steve around here) who got me with the broccoli rabe while a handful of other CSA members cocked an ear. Bus-ted.

I haven’t cooked with this stuff in a while (and not regularly since I lived in Italy back in the days of the Empire) and gave my stock answer: “When in doubt, saute in garlic” and went home to investigate.

So I found a few recipes, including the following one that I adapted from Giada De Laurentiis (who is a dead ringer for my dear friend Gabrielle Paese – there, I’ve said it publicly). Giada uses pine nuts, but, in addition to having a staff, she has a budget and I don’t, so I use walnuts — a less expensive alternative.

Interesting thing I learned from my investigations is that the “broccoli rabe” we get at Restoration Farm is more like “rapini” because it’s all leaves and none of those little heads. Either way, we’re talking about a bitter, zesty green that my friend, Marianne, finds too chewy, but that I actually love for that reason. The fun of this recipe is that the raisins the raisins provide sweet bursts.

So this one’s for you, Farmer Steve!

Broccoli Rabe with Walnuts and Raisins

IMPORTANT – this is a recipe for a small amount of broccoli rabe, which, like so many leafy greens, cooks down to nothing in no time. My recommendation? Triple or quadruple this recipe in order to have a nice fat side serving for four people – only increasing the oil, garlic and red pepper by two.

1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 12-14 oz) cleaned and stems trimmed

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch (1/8 tsp) hot red pepper flakes

1/4 Cup raisins

Salt to taste

1/4 cup roasted walnuts*, broken up

Have a bowl of ice water ready And be ready to reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Place broccoli rabe in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until bright green and slightly wilted. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid. Drain and put greens in ice bath to stop cooking.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil until fragrant and liquid and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute and add pinch of pepper flakes. Add broccoli rabe and stir to coat. Add raisin and reserved cooking liquid and cook at medium until broccoli is fairly tender and raisins are plumped up (5-10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste and walnuts and serve.

*To toast walnuts, simply toss them into a hot pan and stir until they are fragrant and warm, but not burned. Cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.


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