A big bowl of garlicky, soupy greens is what I craved today, probably my body’s natural response to all the poundcake and cookies I’ve been obsessively baking. So I took a deep breath, looked out the window at the blossoming trees, and cooked something green.
I had some baby kale I got from the farmers’ market this past weekend, but I use this basic recipe with any kind of sauté-able green, from spinach to chard to collards.
To make it, wash the greens and slice them into ribbons if the pieces are big. (I skipped this since my kale leaves were tiny.) Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Be generous. After all, it’s just greens; they can use the richness.
Then, to the pan, add a couple of thinly sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of red-pepper flakes, and some chopped anchovies if you like. Sometimes, I also throw in sliced onion or scallions for sweetness. Let it cook for 30 seconds to a minute, just long enough to turn the garlic golden, but not brown. Add the greens and a few tablespoons of broth or water, and some salt. Lower the heat and let the greens braise, stirring once in a while, until they are tender, anywhere from 5 minutes for young, soft-leafed greens like baby spinach, or longer, up to 20 minutes, for mature, tougher greens. Most but not all of the liquid should evaporate, but I like them soupy.
That’s it. Serve them with their broth in a bowl, with crusty bread or toast on the side, and garnish with a drizzle of fresh, good oil, and some flaky sea salt. If you want to make this more of a hearty meal, you can dollop ricotta on top, or sprinkle the greens with Parmesan, or stir in a can of drained beans (if you can still look at them at this point). A squeeze of lemon juice or dash of vinegar is also nice for brightness. Once, a while ago, I plopped a chunk of burrata in the middle of my greens bowl, and that was wonderful, too. And one day, not too far in the future I hope, I’ll do it again.
This is part of a weekday series in which Melissa Clark teaches you how to cook with pantry staples. (Other recipes in the series: Pasta carbonara. Cornmeal poundcake. Root vegetables with chickpeas and yogurt. Cheesy shakshuka. Sardine-celery salad. Brothy lentils and rice. Flaky biscuits. Tahini omelet. Cold peanut noodles. Crunchy pantry popcorn. Vegetarian skillet chili. Dried beans. Baked oats. Canned tuna pasta. Any-vegetable soup. Pantry crumb cake.)
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