I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations which provides me with oodles of culinary inspiration (and maybe just a pinch of jealousy-what an amazing gig, right?). Recently, my boyfriend and I watched the episode on Greece and I came away that evening with a notebook filled with cooking ideas. My favorite, the one I had to try immediately, was the Greek greens.
The Greeks are known for olive oil and sun ripened vegetables, but they are also known- perhaps to a lesser extent- for their horta (greens) which are used in side dishes and salads. Of course, we don’t grow many of the same varieties of greens in this country, but we have our own (collards, turnips, dandelion, etc.) and I decided to try my hand creating my own version of this dish.
While perusing the farmer’s market stalls this weekend, I found a gorgeous bunch of turnips, with the leaves still intact (for only $2!) and decided that turnip greens would work perfectly. They are slightly bitter in flavor but still milder than collards and less bulky too. They cook down quite a bit faster.
When I got home, I severed the turnips from the stalk and broke them down (separating the leaves from the hard stalk part) before washing the leaves thoroughly. Turnip leaves are slightly prickly so my advice is to handle them delicately or use gloves.
Next, the greens went into a big pot of water to boil for about 20 min or so, until tender.
Once the greens were cooked, I drained off the water and transferred them to a heated pan with a bit of olive oil, and fennel seed and tossed the greens in the pan until well coated and fragrant. Fennel (see below), is an aromatic and flavorful herb that has the essence of licorice. I really love it, but if you aren’t a fan, you could use another spice instead.
Finally, I served up the hot turnip greens with a squeeze of lemon juice and a side of lemon wedge. It was an excellent first attempt at “Greek” greens and went perfectly with our meal.
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