Monday, 23 May 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Spicy Beet Greens

Beware the bag.

You know the bag I am talking about - that trickster coyote bag in the grocery store. There's the orange one that holds carrots - that makes you believe that the carrots are actually orange and fresh and awesome. But when you  get home you find they are whitish and hairy and look like they have been kept in the grocery store manager's basement for the last six months.

Same goes with the reddish beet bag. You think you have a bounty of awesome beets but you end up with a bag of beet-shaped rocks with strangely thick skin.

Only buy the produce you can actually see, in my opinion. If they have to cover it up - there's a problem.
And, if you buy your beets fresh, you get the added bonus of beet greens! They are too tough to eat raw, generally, but they cook up wonderfully. Any recipe that calls for kale or chard can be adapted for beet greens. And they are super healthy. Angelic, even.

My simple rule of thumb? Cook them up the night you bring them home.
A - they take up way too much room in the fridge, and my fridge is always full. Usually of condiments, but that is another story..
B - you want them fresh and strong, they wilt quickly.

Spicy Beet Greens
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home

1 large purple onion, cut in half and sliced into half moons
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch beet greens
2 tsp red wine vinegar, or to taste
pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Beet greens are related to mustard greens. Cool, eh?
Heat up the olive oil in a 12-inch pan. Add onion and cook on medium, stirring here and there, for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add everything else, keep stirring to let greens melt down but make sure they don't melt down too much - you still want some leafiness to them. Taste and adjust seasonings.

These Spicy Beet Greens are simple and delicious and make a perfect side to a meal. We served them with a pork schnitzel, roasted portabello with blue cheese and thyme, and a simple tomato salad with Parmesan and chives.

First of all, don't let Bon Appetit magazine bully you into thinking that you can't serve portobellos anymore. They are awesome and always will be. I like to brush mine with extra virgin olive oil, red wine (or balsamic) vinegar, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then I roast or grill them, with blue cheese melting gloriously in the gills. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and serve. Also makes a great veggie burger.
There is no second of all.