This is the simplest of preparations, and if you’ve done much cooking, you may say to yourself “Duh! As if anyone needed to tell me that.” I’m not pretending that this is some stroke of genius. But if you’re new to dark, leafy greens or if you’ve only had them Southern-style (i.e., mushy, limp, tasteless, and boiled-to-death), this is a great starting place. I’ll post some more suggestions tomorrow.
Basic Sauteed Greens
1 to 1.5 pounds collard greens, kale, or swiss chard
4 to 5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I use a garlic press like this to help)
1 to 2 tablespoons virgin, unrefined coconut oil or raw butter (or olive oil, if you must)
Herbamare or sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
First, prep your greens by washing them thoroughly, cutting off the ends of the stalks. Separate the leaves from the stalk either by tearing or by cutting them away. Lay the leaves on top of one another, 6 or 7 at a time. Roll the stack lengthwise and slice across the roll. You can vary the thickness of the slices to suit your taste. I like mine quite thin.
To see pictures of this technique, called chiffonade, go here. It works like a charm for basil and other herbs too. (Since the pictures show sage leaves, which are long and narrow, the demonstrator has rolled them top to bottom. For greens, though, go ahead and roll them lengthwise. Unless you have a rebellious streak. Then you can roll them however you please.)
Also, chop up the stalks into 1 inch pieces and set them apart from the sliced leaves. The stalks are full of nutrition too, so there’s no need to waste them. You paid good money for them, after all.
Heat a large, wide saute pan, preferably one that’s about 12 inches wide and 3 inches deep, over medium to medium-high heat, depending on your cooktop. Add the oil or butter and allow to melt/become shimmery.
Toss in your garlic and stir frequently to prevent burning. After a minute or so, add your chopped stems. A couple of minutes later, add the greens in handfuls, stirring after each addition. For collards and swiss chard, continue stirring intermittently for a few minutes. For kale, because it’s much bulkier and harder to stir without accidentally tossing it out of the pan, add a little water and cover, allowing the steam to do the work for you.
You’ll know that your greens are done when they turn a darker green and become glossy. They will also lose a significant amount of bulk, although not as much as spinach does when cooked. If you wish, you can test a little strip for doneness. If it’s undercooked, it will be chewy and tough. If overcooked, it will be totally limp and devoid of texture. Definitely avoid the latter at all costs.
Turn off the heat, remove the pan from the burner, and season to taste with Herbamare or sea salt and black pepper. It is very important to salt greens as it gives them a milder taste. Please, don’t skip the salt. (An article on why the right kind of salt is great for you is in the works.)