Quick before they bolt–put those greens in a pie!
Ok–it may be 90 degrees in April but one of the nice things about living in the South is–we have not one growing season, but three. And here’s my spring garden which will soon be replaced by my summer garden, then my fall garden, etc.
These spring greens (Asian cabbage, red cabbage, kale, arugula, cilantro, turnip greens and parsley were planted last fall and overwintered. They survived sleet, snow and freezing nights–but they won’t survive in this heat too long. Already my spring greens are blooming (bolting) which means they will lose their mellow flavor and become bitter. So tonight I’m going to cut and bake them in one of our favorite spring dishes–Greens pie.
Here’s why I always grow spring greens:
1) Greens are the easiest food crop you can grow. If you don’t believe me, check out this January Newsletter from friend and You Should grow That!! reader, Linda Watson at cookforgood.com. http://cookforgood.com/news_grow_productive_easy_veggies.html
2) Homegrown greens are so much better than store-bought. Yea–you do have wash them well, but they come out of the backyard, not off a truck from Florida or south of the border. Greens are fragile and delicate. Like tomatoes, store-bought just won’t be the same.
3) Greens are good for you. My dad who taught health and PE way back in the day used to tell me that few plants have the nutritional value of collard greens. In the lean old times, Southerners pretty much lived on them. And if you cook them lightly, they hold their favor and most of their vitamins.
4) Greens are fast food. My grandma may have cooked them for a day and a half with ham hock-but I cook them very lightly– with just a little olive oil garlic, salt and pepper. You do have to wash them twice, maybe three times in this pollen but after that step, they’re a snap.
5) And finally, greens are a great way to eat seasonally. Every spring I make as many greens pies as I can–then no more til next year. It’s a great way to savor the changing seasons and something we always look forward to.
Here’s the recipe for my Spring Greens Pie–
And mark your September/October calendars now in big red Sharpie–”Sow Spring Greens”
Chris’s Greens Pie
Mixed spring greens–a sink full or “mess” as we say in the South
2 leeks or 1 sweet onion
2/3 cup grated romano cheese
3-4 TBS olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pack of Pepperridge Farm puff pastry
Thaw puff pastry while you pick and wash greens in a sink full of water. Wash two -three times then pull leaves from large stems and tear or chop.
Saute onion or cleaned leek in a pan with some oil.
When onion is almost browned, drop greens in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2-3 minute. Drain in a colander and cool. Then start pushing water out of greens. Roll in a towel until they give up most of their moisture.
Add to pan with onion or leek and mix with cheese, lightly beaten egg, oil, salt and pepper.
Put bottom curst in a pie or tart pan. Add filling then the top crust. Fold and crimp edges. Cut slits in the top. Bake at 375 for about 35-40 minutes until well browned. Enjoy.