June 28, 2013 by Sara Kreidler
I’ve mentioned before how much I love Tamar Adler’s book, An Everlasting Meal. She’s amazing (and I adore this video of her, if you are in need of some veggie prep inspiration). One of the main messages of her book is to use what you have on hand and what is in season, to be flexible, and to put to use the leftovers and scraps that are hanging around in your kitchen. Belonging to a CSA definitely means that we have a lot of in-season produce on hand, and I always have leftovers and other scraps of things laying in wait in the fridge.
Just a few weeks ago we were swimming in salad greens, but now our crisper is packed full with dark, leafy cooking greens. I don’t mind this (I actually prefer the dark leafy greens to the salad greens), but figuring out how to use it all in a week’s time, before the next box arrives, can be a bit challenging. This week, for example, we had large bag of spinach, two enormous bunches of chard and a big handful of beet greens to use up, in addition to a bundle of collards still hanging around from the prior week. We also had a ton of green onions, and a couple of garlic scapes.
If you’re also experiencing leafy greens overload, you can always blanch and freeze the greens for later use (they thaw beautifully and can be tossed into soup or stew, or baked pasta dishes or tomato sauce). Or you can simply rinse, de-stem, and rip up the leaves and saute them with some olive oil or rendered bacon fat. Or you can do what Adler suggests, and take a quick inventory of other things hanging around in your kitchen and make something out of nothing.
Both of the recipes that follow are really just jumping off points; you can (and should) add or substitute things that you have on hand.
Green-Garlic-Goat PizzaAdapted from Local Kitchen
A few months ago I made some pizza dough using the recipe in this earlier post and froze the extra rounds, one of which I thawed and used here; if you don’t have pizza dough in your freezer and don’t have time to make it, you can certainly substitute a store-bought pizza shell here. You can swap in other greens — kale, collards, turnip or pea greens would all work well, and you can mix them up if you have a smattering of several greens (just note that collards take a bit longer to cook than the others). If you have garlic scapes, use those instead of regular garlic; if you don’t have green onions but do have yellow, white or red onions handy, use them instead. If I had them in the fridge, I might have added some sliced mushrooms or bell peppers to the pizza as well. The same goes for the cheese — I used goat and parmesan because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use different cheese(s) if you wish. Dig through your fridge and use up the odds and ends that are hanging around, and you’ll have a great pizza for dinner.
- 1 round of pizza dough (if frozen, thawed on the counter for about an hour or until pliable)
- Flour for dusting
- Olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, minced (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 bunch of swiss chard, rinsed, stems removed, and leaves torn into pieces
- 1 bag of spinach, rinsed and stems removed
- Red chile flakes
- 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used a mix of rosemary, thyme and oregano)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
- 3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Pre-heat the oven as high as it will go (500 degrees is the max on my oven). Place a pizza stone or baking sheet (I used a stone for this pizza but have used a rimmed baking sheet on other occasions with success) on the lowest rack in your oven and leave it in there until you are ready to assemble your pizza.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add chard and spinach, season with chile flakes and salt to taste, and allow to wilt a bit before attempting to flip/stir the greens. Cook until the greens are soft. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens from the pan to a bowl (you want to leave as much of the liquid behind in the pan as possible so that it won’t make your pizza soggy, but you also want to try to get as much of the onion and garlic from the pan as possible.
- On a lightly floured countertop, use a rolling pin to roll out your round of dough to fit the size and shape of your pizza stone or pan. Carefully remove the pizza stone/pan from the oven (it will be screaming hot, so be ready to put it down on a heat-safe surface). If you don’t have a pizza peel (I don’t), I recommend laying a piece of parchment paper down over the top of your pizza stone/pan. Dust any excess flour off of your dough before transferring it to the stone/pan, and if needed use your fingers to stretch it out a bit to fit the pan. Use a fork to gently prick the surface of the dough, covering the entire top of the dough with small perforations; this will help to prevent air bubbles from forming when the dough is baked. Lightly brush the top of the dough with olive oil, then sprinkle the top of the dough with your herbs and about 1/2 of the parmesan. Spread the greens over top (using your fingers is the easiest way) so that they are evenly distributed. Arrange halved tomatoes over top of the greens, and then sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and remaining parmesan.
- Place the pizza in the oven on the lowest rack and bake for 10-12 minutes (your time will vary depending upon how high the temperature on your oven goes, so just keep an eye on it — when the crust is browned and the goat cheese has started to brown, your pizza is ready). Remove pizza from the oven and allow to cool slightly for a minute or two before slicing.
Stewed Greens and TomatoesAdapted from The Gift of Southern Cooking
This is a recipe we go to again and again. It is very adaptable — garlic cloves or garlic scapes can be used, and the same with the onions (green, white, yellow or red will work here). You can use any kind of greens or a mix of them — kale, spinach, turnip, beet, etc. I use pork stock when I’m cooking stewed greens, which I make ahead of time by putting 2-3 smoked ham hocks and one yellow onion (quartered and skin still on it) in a stock pot, filling the pot most of the way with water, and simmering it on the stove, uncovered, for about an hour. Once the stock has cooled I remove the ham hocks and big onion pieces, strain the stock over a fine mesh sieve, and pour it into quart sized freezer containers and freeze it (make sure to label the top, as pork stock looks just like chicken stock in the freezer). Then I just thaw the stock when I need it (if you have a pressure canner, you could can it instead of freezing it). If you don’t have pork stock already made and you don’t want to make it, you can substitute vegetable stock or chicken stock (but you may need to add more salt to this dish, depending upon how salty your stock is).
These stewed greens make a great side dish — we often serve them with BBQ ribs and baked mac and cheese, but this week we made them alongside a marinated flank steak and a quick pasta salad. It’s an especially easy side to make if you are serving other dishes that require more attention, because you can make this ahead of time and reheat it on the stove when you’re ready to eat. If you have leftover stewed greens and tomatoes, you can make a meal of them by serving them over some pasta, or a thick slice of toasted bread.
- 4 cups pork stock
- 1 bunch collards, rinsed, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
- 1 bunch beet greens, rinsed, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
- Olive oil
- 4 green onions, minced (white and pale green parts only)
- 3 garlic scapes, minced
- 1 quart crushed tomatoes, drained (juice reserved for another day/recipe)
- Red chile flakes
- Heat the pork stock in a medium sized dutch oven over high flame, until boiling. Add collards and beet greens, reduce flame to medium and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until greens are tender (remember that collards take longer to cook than other greens, so you will just need to taste-test until they are ready). My pork stock was rather salty so I did not add additional salt, but you should taste your stock and add salt if needed.
- When the greens are finished cooking, place a colander over a large heat-safe bowl in your sink. Pour the contents of the pot into the colander, so that the green cooking liquid from the pot are reserved in the bowl and the greens are in the colander.
- Wipe out the pot with a clean towel and return it to the stove. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil to the pot and heat over medium-high flame until shimmering. Add minced onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes to the pot and using a wooden spoon, break up the whole tomatoes into large chunks. Return the greens to the pot, along with 1/2-3/4 cup of the reserved green cooking liquid. Add red chile flakes to taste. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 20 minutes, taste testing for salt. Serve hot.