It’s Easy Being Green in the Winter Thanks to Spinach, Kale, and Collards

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Don’t let the winter chill keep you from satisfying your craving for filling greens. You can get your vegetable fix from hardy winter varieties like collards, mustard greens, spinach, Brussels sprouts and, kale. The hardiness of winter greens works well in great winter dishes that slowly cook root vegetables and meat. Winter greens also hold up well in soups, and because winter is their natural growing season, they are especially compatible with the body’s needs in cold weather months. Not only are they a delicious source of numerous vitamins and minerals in our winter meals, they have a warming effect on the body. Check your local Farmers Markets to get the very freshest of these greens!!

Scallop (or Fish Filets) Piccata with Sautéed Spinach
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (about 12)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup white wine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons capers
1 (10-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over scallops. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add scallops; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned and done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped garlic to pan; cook 10 seconds. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat. Add parsley, fresh lemon juice, butter, and capers, stirring until butter melts. Pour sauce in a bowl.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add spinach; sauté 30 seconds or until spinach almost wilts. Drizzle sauce over scallops; serve with spinach.
Serves 4, each serving contains: Calories 275, Fat 13.1 g, Protein 30.9 g, Carbohydrate 8.3 g,
Fiber 1.8 g, Cholesterol 71 mg, Sodium 607 mg.

Shredded Collard Green Salad and Sweet Potatoes
(Adapted from a Saveur recipe)
2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. fresh limejuice
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 lb. collard greens, stems removed, leaves thinly shredded (6 cups)
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Heat the oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potato slices with 2 tablespoons of the palm oil, the cumin, thyme, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and roast the sweet potatoes, flipping once halfway through cooking, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the limejuice and ginger and let stand for 10 minutes to soften. Whisk in the remaining 1⁄4 cup palm oil until emulsified and then season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

To serve, place the collard greens in a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing, massaging it into the greens for about 5 minutes. Transfer the greens to a serving platter, top with the sweet potatoes, and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Winter Greens Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper
8 ounces Belgian and curly endive, chopped (4 cups), you may also use radicchio
6 cups lightly packed arugula or spinach (4 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the lemon juice, tarragon, chives and garlic. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the endive, arugula, kale and scallions with 1 cup of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to a platter, top with the pecans and serve with the remaining dressing at the table. Serves 8-10.
Winter Greens Gratin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for dish
2 pounds kale, center ribs and stems removed, torn into large pieces, or two 10-ounce bags trimmed, chopped kale (about 24 cups)
Kosher salt
2 1/2 pounds mustard greens, center ribs and stems removed, torn into large pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided, plus 7 sprigs thyme
2 shallots, sliced into 1/4″-thick rounds (about 1 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
7 garlic cloves, smashed
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère (or Swiss)

Lightly butter a 3-quart baking dish. Working in batches, blanch kale in a pot of boiling lightly salted water until just softened, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer kale to a large bowl of ice water; let cool, then drain. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible by hand and transfer kale to a work surface.

Repeat with mustard greens, blanching for 2 minutes per batch. Coarsely chop all greens and combine in a large bowl (you should have 6 cups tightly packed greens). Separate clumps and loosen chopped leaves by hand.

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crispy, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in Parmesan and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring often, until slightly softened and light golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer shallots to bowl with greens. Add cream, milk, garlic, and thyme sprigs to same saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook until mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 10-12 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and garlic; stir in nutmeg. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Pour cream mixture over greens in bowl and toss to evenly coat in sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer greens mixture to prepared baking dish; sprinkle Gruyère over. Top with breadcrumbs. Cover dish with foil.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake until filling is hot, about 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is melted, edges are bubbling, and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 10-20 minutes longer. Garnish with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Serves 8-10.

Warm Wilted Winter Greens
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint walnuts, for garnish
3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as spinach, kale, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Parmesan shavings, for garnish
1 shallot, chopped, for garnish
Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.

Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot. Serves 4.

Fettuccini with Winter Greens and Poached Egg
4 ounces egg fettuccini (you may substitute with zucchini noodles)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 sprig Fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stem
4 ounces (4 cups) chopped winter greens, such as chard, escarole, spinach or kale
2 large eggs
Fresh shaved Parmesan, optional for serving

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, to poach the eggs fill a large deep skillet with about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Crack the eggs into individual bowls. Gently slide eggs one at a time into the simmering water. Using a spoon, gently nudge the egg whites toward center of yolk. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a semi-soft yolk or 3-4 minutes for a firmer-set yolk. With a slotted spoon or spatula, remove eggs one at a time and drain on paper towels.

While the pasta and eggs cook, in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, red onion, season with 1/8th tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the greens and 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the greens turn bright green and are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pasta and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to two individual bowls, about 1 1/2 cups each. Top with the egg and serve with grated cheese and fresh cracked pepper, if desired.
Serves 2, each serving contains: Calories 342, Fat 9g, Cholesterol 186mg, Sodium365mg, Carbohydrates 51g, Fiber 5g, Sugar 2g, Protein 16g.