Do you ever stare at the wall of green at your local market and become overwhelmed? Maybe it’s just me in my state of green confusion… I sort of pause, take it all in, check my list and ultimately stick with what I know. My kale-lovin’ supermodel Simone and I made a run to Whole Foods over the weekend to buy greens and a few other things. We captured a list of all the greens and found recipes to correspond – making trying a new green even easier! And of course we had to take photos along the way …
Arugula is a spicy little leaf, with a peppery-mustardy flavor. It is often mixed with milder greens to balance a recipe or salad. It can also be sautéed in olive oil. Pizza with Pizzazz : Arugula, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza
Bib is a fancy-fancy lettuce variety. The leaves are soft and buttery in texture and pale green in color, but hearty enough for sandwiches or as a salad base. Look for fresh, green leaves without wilting or blemishes. Build a Better Bowl: Bibb Lettuce Salad with Avocado, Grapefruit, and Toasted Almonds.
With over twenty varieties, this cabbage cousin has a variety that will please almost any palate. It looks like Swiss Chard, but tastes more like a lovechild of cabbage & lettuce. It’s a strong, firm green and pairs well with seafood. Seafood + Greens: Hoisin-Glazed Black Cod with Bok Choy.
Turnips, broccoli and lettuce had one wild night and from their little tryst, this veggie with spiked leaves surrounded by green broccoli-like buds emerged. It’s flavor? Nutty, bitter, and a little pungent. Feeling frisky? Try Broccoli Rabe with Caramelized Onions on the side to keep things “interesting”.
Martha Rose Shulman says it best, “sturdier than spinach, yet has a more delicate flavor than other sturdy greens like kale or turnip greens.” Think of Chard as training wheels to the bolder greens. And she thinks of EVERYTHING (like the other Martha), including a full page of recipes.
Don’t let its pretty pale color deceive you. Endive is rich in many vitamins and minerals from folate to vitamins A and K. It also packs a punch in the fiber department. Endive is grown in the U.S. and is always in season. If you haven’t noticed, it’s no slouch, so keep it on your plate: Tuna Tartare With Thai Curry on California Endive (+more).
Escarole looks like curly Romaine, but it is a variety of endive with broader, paler and less bitter leaves than other members of the endive family (see Frisée below). It is almost indistinguishable in taste from the deep purple radicchio despite their radically different appearance. Set it apart from its family members with rustic flair: Escarole & White Bean Soup.
With a bitter taste, Frisée seems to be a “love it or hate it” food. Works best when it plays nice with other types of greens. But it also has a particular fondness for cheeses. Or eggs if you’re truly trying to get to the root of it all. Find out which Frisée (also called chicory) fare makes your taste-buds sing: Frisée Salad With Poached Egg OR Baby Beets and Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese on a Bed of Frisée.
Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and dark, deep green color. It has a “lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter peppery qualities”. This past weekend there was a recipe that re-affirmed my looooove of kale: Marinated Kale Salad.
Italians are known for their boldness and their passion. It should come as no surprise they cultivated hearty lettuce that looks like art with its intense red color and thick, frilled, crunchy leaves. Lollo Rosso offers an excellent texture and a flavorful green taste. Eat fresh in salads or sandwiches, or use as a garnish. Bonus: its crisp texture lasts longer than most greens. Get EPI-Curious and try Lollo Rosso Lobster Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing.
Grab it and use it as fast as you can! Available at its peak in the spring, this European lettuce has very tender leaves and a mild flavor. It favors temperate climates best, and it is infamous for bolting to seed in hot climates. This variety is definitely for the Spring Lovers! Try it with blue berries, feta or avocado.
Okay, I’m busted… Mesclun is not technically a variety of green, but a mix of greens. Mescla, the French word for “to mix” literally means “mixture”. Traditional Mesclun mixes includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces and endive in equal proportions. Mix it up and try a modern iteration of Mesclun: Pear, Gorgonzola & Mesclun.
On a whim (and a shoestring college budget) I picked up a head of what I thought was purple cabbage only to have an experience that paralleled that of this writer: What’s behind this $5 difference between red cabbage and radicchio? Is it cabbage inflation? Is the Mafia getting kickbacks on radicchio sales? Radicchio has an unusual bitter taste that can fully be appreciated with TLC and a good recipe: Grilled Radicchio with a Balsamic Reduction.
A little bit spicy but lacking the intense bitterness of its fellow wild mustards. It actually has a flowery aroma that rivals the best vanilla in virtue when it is cooked! Pair it with sweets like pomegranate seeds or mango, or citrus notes. The final recipe, for Watercress, is brought to you by the folks at NPR! Catch-All Herb Salad With Lemon-Sage Vinaigrette
What’s your favorite GREEN?
Are you planning to try any (or ALL) of these green varieties? I’d love to know your favorites and recipes you recommend for building a better green rapport in the kitchen.
|Next Post »|