A cruise through the farmers’ market in mid-summer will give you the idea that there are six or seven zillion kinds of greens. In reality, though, there are only two: small and big.
Small greens are the tender, salady kind you can eat raw—Romaine, butterhead lettuce, mache. Big greens are the tougher kinds that need to be cooked—kale, chard and collards are the most common, but there are many others. Luckily, with the exception of collards, which need longer cooking times, you can treat them all the same way: Wash them, stem them, chop them, cook them until tender.
- Sauté chopped greens with garlic and olive oil, add a marinara sauce (homemade or jarred), and serve over pasta.
- In a covered pot (clay pots work best), roast a chicken on a bed of collard greens (other greens will turn to mush), surrounded by cut-up root vegetables. It’s three dishes in one.
- Chop a slice or two of bacon and sauté. Cook chopped greens in the bacon fat (drain some off first if there’s a lot), and add a can of drained white or black beans. It’s a great side for chicken or pork.
- Add greens to egg dishes like quiches, frittatas and omelets.
- Add raw chopped greens to soup and simmer until the greens are cooked (usually about 10 minutes). This works particularly well with hearty soups like lentil or mushroom-barley. It even works with canned soups.
—Tamar Haspel, a food writer in Marstens Mills, Mass.