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Sautéed Greens (Verdi Saltati) for Luck

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Cooked greens of any sort, including cabbage, collards, kale, and spinach, are eaten on New Year’s day in different countries because the green leaves look like folded money, and symbolize economic fortune. It’s widely believed that the amount of wealth you’ll have in the new year is directly proportionate to the amount of greens you eat on New Year’s day.

Sautéed greens are healthy, easy, and wonderfully adaptable. They are an addition to our dinner table at least once a week. They can be mixed with pasta or white beans for a hearty vegetarian meal, served as a side dish or Dom’s favorite served in chicken broth with veal meatballs as Italian wedding soup. Served cold, they make a delicious summer salad, too. 
Cooking greens, also known as “potherbs,” are leafy green vegetables that are among the most widely grown vegetables worldwide. The term “leafy greens” refers to vegetables like cabbage, endive, escarole, spinach, broccoli, rapini, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, and even dandelions. They are grown specifically for their leaves and stems, (though sometimes the stems are not edible.) Collards, which are considered to bring a year of good fortune if eaten on New Year’s Day, were cultivated and eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans. They are the oldest leafy green within the cabbage family.

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch leafy greens, blanched (see below)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Blanching is a technique used to soften vegetables before their final preparation. All leafy greens (except spinach) benefit from being blanched prior to sautéing.  For greens with thick stems or ribs, separate these from the leaves, place them in boiling water and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the leafy pieces and stir with a wooden spoon until the water returns to a boil. As soon as the greens are a bit limp, (but not soggy looking) which should take another 3-5 minutes, remove the greens to a dry towel and drain briefly.

Heat olive oil in a heavy pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add parboiled greens (or spinach) and cook, turning occasionally for about 5 minutes until just starting to brown. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle water (up to 2 tablespoons as needed to keep the greens from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the garlic looks golden and the greens are slightly browned, remove to serving plate and salt to taste. Sprinkle with mollica for added texture.


Source: http://www.welike2cook.com/2011/01/sauteed-greens-verdi-saltati-for-luck.html



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