Spring Greens

The method detailed in this recipe is probably my favorite way to cook vegetables of all kinds — broccoli, potatoes, beans, carrots, squash, zucchini, spinach … the list goes on and on. It’s simple, healthful and once you try it (if you’re not already familiar with it), you’ll never go back to boiling your veggies to death. Briefly simmer the vegetables in lightly salted water until crisp-tender, then sauté them in olive oil with the flavorings of your choice. The greens pictured below would be fine as is, but for the addition of a fried farm egg and a scattering of cheese; that’s just gilding the lily as far as I’m concerned.

I think vegetarian food should be joyous and a celebration of flavor. Also, remember that fat carries flavor, which is fine as long as it’s not to excess. I’m sure there’s a place for asceticism somewhere on the planet, but not usually in my kitchen .. and then, only very rarely.

Kale, with garlic, lemon zest, fried farm egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Kale, with garlic, lemon zest, fried farm egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

This recipe serves one, so you may have to adjust proportions if you’re faced with a gaggle of hungry eaters.

ice water
1 head of kale, trimmed
olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
sea salt
freshly milled black pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest, julienned
1 egg
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add kale and cook, partially covered until kale becomes crisp-tender (the leaves should still be a bright emerald green), about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, then immediately plunge the kale into the bowl of ice water. This is a step known as blanching; it will help stop the cooking and preserve the green color. Drain the bowl and squeeze out as much water as you can from the kale. Chop the kale coarsely.

Add garlic to a cold sauté pan. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan; gently warm oil over medium heat. When the garlic begins to turn a pale gold after about a couple of minutes, add the greens to the pan along with a pinch of sea salt, a few grinds of black pepper, the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Stir a few times; cook over medium heat or until the greens are warmed through, about 3 to 4 minutes. While the greens are cooking, crack open an egg onto the center of the pan. Let the egg white set amongst some of the kale. The greens should be done at roughly the same time the egg is done. I like my yolks slightly runny but you should adjust for your personal preference. Taste for salt and pepper, then remove from heat. Spoon the kale and fried egg onto a shallow bowl or plate, scatter some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top and serve at once.

Time: About 30 minutes, including prep.

This is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #330, which is currently hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina and organized by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. Weekend Herb Blogging is a weekly foodblogging event that was originally begun by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Kale, with garlic, lemon zest, fried farm egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

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