The Greens Book has become my “go to” cookbook when I’ve been overwhelmed with kale or chard from my CSA delivery. My edition of The Greens Book is from 1995 and is written by Susan Belsinger and Carolyn Dille.
As in any good niche ingredient cookbook, most of the writing is about the ingredient at hand. In this case it’s greens. Many of the recipes are versatile enough to be used on any kind of green. The first section gives an in-depth review of the various types of greens, where to find them, the varieties, the history and how to cook them. There are also brilliant large photos of the green varieties.
It’s a little disappointing that the rest of the cookbook only has a photos to introduce each section. (Also, unfortunately, there isn’t a description of what the dish is so you have to leaf through a bit and figure out what it is.)
The index is also easy to use as it’s split into two sections – topic and ingredient. What I like is the cross listing if a recipe works for more than one type of green. For example, “ancho corn pudding with wilted greens” is listed under “chard”, “epazote”, “lambs-quarters”, “mustard leaves”, and “spinach”. You can’t go wrong finding something based on the ingredient you have.
This is not a vegetarian only cookbook but the majority are sans meat. But, that’s ok, it’s easy for me to either turn the page or leave the meat out of the recipe.
I chose this recipe because I was looking for a quick side dish for a giant load of swiss chard I received. Admittedly, the amount of butter and cheese used in this dish might arch an eyebrow with caloric concern, but this tastes oh-so-good.
Chard Baked with Parmesean
The Greens Book
3 pounds chard
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesean cheese
Wash the chard well and cut off the stems. Trim the stems and cut them into 2-inch lengths. Cut the leaves crosswise into 2-inch strips. (Note: I used scissors to cut the chard.)
Blanch the stems in lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Add the leaves and blanch for about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Drain the chard well and transfer it to an oven-proof dish. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Brown the butter in a saute pan.
Pour the browned butter over the chard and toss well. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the chard.
Bake 10 minutes or so, or until the parmesan is bubbling and pale golden brown. Serve hot.