Garlicky Sauteed Greens

by Daisy

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I love old-fashioned Southern-cooked-to-death greens as much as the next girl from here ’round, but I really love these more.  Don’t tell anybody.

This method works best with younger, more tender leaves.  If you have more mature greens, trim the stems and cook it a little longer during the lid-on cooking stage below.

The “recipe” is sort of approximate.  Adapt it depending on how much greens you have and how many people you’re serving.

Garlicky Sauteed Greens

1 big washbowl full of greens, such as mustard or turnip, about 2 bunches, thoroughly cleaned

6-8 cloves of garlic, sliced

a nice pinch of red-pepper flakes

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

soy sauce

Coarsely chop the greens.  Set aside.

Heat a good slosh of olive oil in a great big skillet over medium heat.  Saute the garlic and the red pepper flakes just until the garlic begins to brown.

Add the greens and cover them with a lid.  You may have to smush them down at first.  Let the steam wilt the greens until they have reduced enough so you can stir them into the oil and garlic.

Reduce heat a little.  Continue to lift the lid and stir periodically until the greens are almost tender.

Slosh in several generous dashes of both the balsamic vinegar and the soy sauce.  Taste and adjust.

Stir for a few minutes until the vinegar and soy have reduced slightly.

A sprinkle of sesame seeds makes a nice garnish.


Variation: For even more of an Asian twist, add about a teaspoon of sesame oil and 1/2 tsp. ground or 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger when you add the vinegar and soy.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

brandi April 16, 2010 at 7:32 am

Yummy! Can’t wait to try this!

KeLLy Ann April 16, 2010 at 9:33 am

My hubby loves greens, I really do need to make him some. It looks great.

sophie April 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I make greens like this with the addition of carrots which have been cut into very skinny matchsticks. I’ll try sesame seeds next time.

Ps. I grew up on cooked-to-death greens and confess that I never acquired a taste for them.

Jen April 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Greens and garlic go so well together! Have you ever tried doing kale in beer (the heat evaporates the alcohol) and garlic with a little red pepper?

Shana Putnam April 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

OK so this is not about this post at all but I have to tell you that I thought this blog was no longer. I have not had an update since your last year. I kept clicking on your blog in the updates page and the garlic harvest post cam up everytime. So I came on here to write and see what happened or if anyone would respond even. I hit the home button and what do you know?? New posts. Strange. Anyway, i am happy because i loved reading your blog so much. By the way, those greens look amazing!

Tomato Lady April 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Shana Putnam–I’m glad you were persistent! I don’t know what’s going on with that. What reader do you use? Glad to have you back!

Handful April 17, 2010 at 7:51 am

Yum, yum and more yum! Garlic, mmmm…. Finally is nice in my area so this is on the to-do list. I do so love your precise measurements! That is how I cook too.

Just had my first batch of asparagus last night. Grilled with evoo, s & p. Heaven!

Diane April 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

I love greens like this! Another of my favorite variations is to saute the garlic in EVOO along with a handful of chopped almonds and a handful of raisins or dried cranberries. Then I add the greens and just a little water to help plump the raisins up. Cook until the greens are wilted, salt a bit, and voila!

Nate April 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Awesome recipe! We’ve got a couple squares of mustard greens getting close to harvest in our square foot garden and I think we’ll try your recipe as one of our first for the season. I love you blog by the way. Keep up the great work!

Christin April 19, 2010 at 7:45 am

A bonus is that this method retains a lot more nutrients than the cooked-to-death greens. Know when you boil those greens and dump out a bunch of green water? All that green is oh so good for you. So in addition to sauteing and steaming being more delicious, it’s healthier too.

jan April 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

Sounds so good! Makes me want to go to the store and buy some greens right now. Must confess, I have never planted any in my garden. When I was a kid, my aunt used to take us out in the spring and pick dandelion and polk greens to make. Of course, this was in the south and nothing was cooked without ham hock…including the greens. I remember them being good though.

dana April 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I have a question on sorrel – I recently bought some because it was beautiful and it was called RED VEINED SORREL – USE IN SOUPS AND SALADS. I was at another place and found more but was called BLOODY SORREL \ RUMEXSANGUINEUS. The lady there said you don’t eat it – give you upset stomach. So what’s the diff? I just planted and was looking forward to having with all my other types lettuce, chard and spinach.

Tomato Lady April 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Hi dana, This is a head scratcher. The first article here, from Fine Gardening, states it causes mild stomach irritation:
Here is an interesting post which presumes culinary use with no mention of the potential for causing stomach pain:
They both seem to be referring to Rumex Sanguineus
I guess I would say proceed at your own risk!
It is a very pretty plant.

Ket May 12, 2010 at 6:48 am

I know this was posted a while back but I have a question. Does the garlic and stuff actually help the greens from being bitter? The one time I tried mustard greens we ate them mixed with salad and ended up throwing them out because they were SO bitter.

Tomato Lady May 12, 2010 at 7:24 am

Ket–Cooking the greens modifies the flavor from that of the fresh leaf. My mustard greens have a spiciness rather than a bitterness even when raw, really. The oil and vinegar and soy also temper the bite of the greens. Perhaps you might try sauteeing a small batch, flavor it up and see if it is to your taste.

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