Jars of Savory Greens

The New York Times recently highlighted a recipe for a Mediterranean “jam,” the origins of which were attributed to cookbook author Paula Wolfert and her recipe for Moroccan long-cooked greens.  The Times’ recipe is a variation of a dish served at Camino Restaurant in Oakland, California where Chef Russell Moore uses the outside leaves of lettuce and other wilted greens or carrot tops in his Moroccan Herb Jam.

The Queen Anne Diet’s SAVORY GREENS are not steamed, rather they are prepared entirely in two skillets on medium heat with olive oil. This recipe is a great way to widen the variety of greens you eat and have an entirely new way of eating them. Plus, you get a good portion of your lunch for the week made all at once. These jars have grilled onion slices and blistered kalamata olives and cooked garlic cloves. in the bottom of a skillet. Greens are added to the skillets until none remain. More oil is almost always needed so the greens don’t get too dried out. Once finished, we add freshly toasted and ground cumin and coriander seeds (this will make all the difference in the world and takes about 2-3 minutes with a cast iron pan and a little coffee grinder). Cumin and coriander seeds are very inexpensive and are readily available wherever bulk spices are sold. Finally, the jars are finished with a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste. Dried pepper flakes, like Aleppo or a few Red Pepper flakes are an option, too. If you want to roast some lemon slices to finish of the jars with a flair that can easily be done while the greens cook down. Lemon is a perfect pairing to give these savory jars a touch of brightening.

The choice of greens is yours:

CollardBroccoli RabeMustard GreensBeet TopsItalian DandelionKale, and/or Swiss Chard–check out our nutrition breakdowns and compare to what you are (or are not) getting in that lettuce salad you regularly have for lunch. And with these there is less chewing, and you will feel much more satiated throughout the rest of the day. They’re convenient because they can sit out of the refrigerator for a few hours until lunch time and they taste better at room temperature. Do refrigerate what you don’t eat after lunch though.  Pick something new you’ve never tried from our “Greens” posts!

This is a great recipe to make with a friend after your Sunday trip to the gym–get to the store before it’s busy, skip brunch and the line, visit with a pal and get lunches ready for the week. You won’t regret your time in the kitchen for this one. These Jars of Savory Greens are especially satisfying the cool months when a crisp, cold salad is not in the least bit appetizing.

Wash greens and remove the stems if you choose ( I remove stems from kale, collard and chop off the coarse ends of the broccoli rabe). I leave all the chard, dandelion and mustard stems. Your choice. Coarsely chop the greens.

Heat skillets with a bit of olive oil to keep the greens from sticking. Add the chopped greens and cloves of garlic (unpeeled) and begin the saute, stirring frequently,  You will need to add additional olive oil as the greens cook down.

Cut a red onion in half lengthwise, peel and then slice into long sections and sauté in the now unused back half of the pan. I transfer greens between pans to free up space as they cook down. Add a bit more olive oil and continue to cook onions.  Stir greens to keep from burning.

Remove cloves of garlic, pop out of skins, chop and turn back into greens.

Drain the Kalamata olives of their brine in a colander and shake to remove as much liquid as possible. I place my olives in a dry cast iron pan and begin heating until the remaining liquid is removed. Before the pan begins to burn, add enough olive oil to cover the  bottom of pan and sauté the olives until they begin to blister (about 10 minutes). This reverse method of putting olives in before the oil lessens the sputtering that occurs when drops of brine come into contact with the hot oil. Add the olives to the cooked greens.

Toast 3 Tablespoons of cumin seed in a small cast iron pan on medium heat until they begin to brown and become fragrant, stirring continuously. Once the pan warms it takes only about a minute.  Be prepared to remove the seeds immediately from pan once toasted.  Have a hot pad at the ready.  I use a sheet of scratch paper to form into a funnel. Pour the cumin seeds onto the sheet of paper and then into your grinder.
GreenJam_8Add the ground cumin seed into the greens mixture.GreenJam_10

Mix the greens with several tosses to evenly incorporate all the ingredients. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.  A teaspoon of non-balsamic vinegar would also add a touch more contrast. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar ($3.29) works well.

Optional spicy roasted lemon topping:
Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Thinly slice and  blanch two lemons in simmering water for 1-2 minutes. Blot dry with paper towel and place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush with olive oil and roast until they just begin to brown about 15 min.
GreenJam_5Chop and toss with 1/2-1 tsp. Aleppo chili. Place on top of greens jars and mix in while eating.
Divide your Savory Greens into glass jars (I use stacking jars from Crate and Barrel–$1.89 each) or plastic containers (I save and hand wash pint containers from the PCC deli) and you’re ready for the week!

This is a perfect weekday lunch–on the go, at the office, or while working at home.  Serve at room temperature (just leave on your desk when you come in to work).  Bring in a little roasted chicken or some squash and a half an apple for snack and you will feel well cared for throughout the day.

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