As a child, I wouldn’t get anywhere near spinach. It came in cans and was disgusting. I believe every child in the world, at that time, would agree with my scientific assessment of spinach’s flaws. I grew up as part of a generation force-fed vegetables stripped of all their dignity. Later, I learned, there are veggies you can eat that are crunchy, fresh, not overly salted, and delicious!
My world changed.
Fast forward decades, and I have a full-on love affair with greens in particular. It’s a rare week when they aren’t part of my meals. Generally, those weeks coincide with traveling, where it seems restaurants haven’t gotten the memo that greens can be good. There are exceptions, like the amazing greens I had at Prepkitchen in Del Mar. I dream about those greens and salmon that accompanied them. To give you a sense of how perfect they were, I barely touched my accompanying potato puree.
Yes, I left potatoes on the plate.
Lately, I’ve been doing a simple preparation of greens with a baked egg. I chop a couple of bunches of greens and let them cook down with some sauteed onion, a tablespoon (give or take) of cumin, a bit of salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes for a bit of kick. I use only a small amount of liquid so the greens aren’t runny. I then make a little nest in the greens (one per person being served), and crack an egg into the nest. Bake the greens at 375 degrees for about 10 – 12 minutes, until the whites are just set. Add a dash of pepper, and eat.
Of course, you can just cover the skillet with the greens and eggs and cook on the stovetop. I like baking eggs because the slightly slower (and foolproof!) process allows me to do other things while the eggs are setting.
I love the ways I can vary this basic recipe. Spinach with Coconut Milk and Mustard, a variation on creamed spinach, is my favorite (obviously!). Change up the spices to make them warm, or fiery, or even comforting. And use lots of greens. Lots and lots of greens.
Tip of the Week
If you’re mixing your greens, add the longer cooking greens first with a bit of liquid to braise them. Collards usually take the longest, followed by most kales. Chard and spinach get soft quickly.
Menu of the Week
- Grilled Tilapia or Other Light Fish
- Greens with Baked Egg
- Sliced Mango