Admit it: You think bitter greens are for rabbits. Would anything else wilfully force down those thick, chewy leaves? Well, maybe you. As the greenmarkets expand weekly, it’s worth trying some of the lesser-known varieties of greens. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make them taste good; you just need a few minutes with a hot pan, olive oil, garlic and a splash of water.
There are many to pick from: This week’s market showcases mustard greens, dandelion greens, baby red kale and mizuna. Mustard greens are surprisingly pleasant—raw, they taste like fresh horseradish, which is actually better than it sounds. Sautéing them perfectly mutes that intensity. The kale, also sautéed, becomes almost buttery, but you’ll need to salt it, too.
The dandelion greens? Even with lemon juice, they sat ignored in a sorry lump on the edge of the plate. Sautéing them also generates odd little human-like hairs, which doesn’t help their case. I hear blanching helps, but we’re trying to keep it simple. Skip ’em unless you’re at a restaurant, especially when they’re cleverly disguised with, say, a poached egg.
Mizuna isn’t really a bitter green, but it looks cool—sleek, spiky leaves—and will impress your friends. No need to cook it—it’s great as a simple after-dinner salad. Sprinkle the leaves with olive oil, lime juice and salt; they don’t need any more pepper than they’ve already got.