So last weekend was a bit indulgent: heavy lazing in the sun, plenty of imbibing, swirly soft serve ice cream, wood-fired pizza, countless coffees etc. I was feeling a bit tired and, oh I don’t know, shameful by the end of it all. In an attempt to set my jaded body straight, I’ve been eating a lot of greens. We’ve got a few types of kale, spinach and chard in the gardens. In the midsummer heat they’re producing rather prolifically so they have to be eaten up anyway.
Fixing up some greens seems to be one of those things that people can get mystified over. This is roughly the technique/recipe my grandmother has used over the years and they’re always delicious, whatever the type used. Generally when she makes them for us, she throws in a handful of cooked flat or string beans for a bit of interest. It makes sense because they kind of grow together and produce consistently throughout the summer. I’ve never been one to question grandmotherly cooking logic. It just works.
The greens and beans get an initial cooking in boiling water to remove any toughness. Then they get sloshed around in a garlic and chili infused oil, a bit of salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon. The acidity at the end really makes them; not as noticeably cabbage-y and so bright.
1 large handful yellow, green or flat beans, trimmed at the ends
1 bunch greens of your choice, cut into slightly larger than bite-size pieces
2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 clove of garlic, smashed or cut into 4 rough pieces
pinch of chili flakes (or to your taste)
salt and pepper
juice of half a lemon
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Once boiling, add a big pinch of salt and the beans. Simmer until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the water and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, set aside.
With the large pot of water still boiling, heat a large saute pan over medium. Add the oil to the saute pan, followed by the large pieces of garlic and chili flakes. Stir that mixture until it seems nice and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic pieces from the pan and discard.
Drop half of the greens into the boiling water, stir them around a bit just to submerge them quickly. Remove from the water with tongs or a spider strainer and drop into the saute pan. Repeat with the second half of greens. This process should take about 20ish seconds. So fast!
Once all the greens are in the saute pan, add the beans in, season the mixture with salt, pepper and the lemon juice. Turn off the heat, toss everything together and serve immediately.