Tag Archives: greens

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I know, the title of the post says "Southern Greens by Michael Symon."  I promise, there are greens in this story.  But first, let me tell you about the rest of the meal.

This story begins with my brother making an unexpected trip to Roseville on Tuesday.  Roseville is a cozy little town about 40 minutes from us.  It also happens to be where the nearest Whole Foods is located.  My brother (who like every other member of my family is also obsessed with food and cooking) was very excited to pull into Whole Foods and come home with 3 grocery bags full of goodies.  In one of those bags was a whole mess of fresh oysters.  Wednesday, my brother spent the entire day preparing a feast for my sister in law, myself and our uncle who lives just down the road.  Part of that feast was oysters 4 ways:

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The first oyster selection was, of course, raw on the half shell.  This is not my favorite preparation of oysters.  It's not that I mind the idea that they are uncooked.  I don't care for the texture of raw oysters and it just doesn't taste like anything to me.  I get  maybe a hint of sea water but other than that the appeal of raw oysters is totally lost on me and therefore, not worth wasting on me.  My brother and  uncle ate all these raw ones.

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The next preparation was grilled oysters with a chipotle butter sauce.  These definitely are not part of my P90X diet.  I ate them anyway.  They were sublime.

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Next on the oyster tasting menu was my personal favorite:  Oysters Rockefeller.  This was my first time trying Oysters Rockefeller and I am now spoiled for any others.  Except maybe fried with tartar sauce.  Also, not part of my P90X diet.

In the above photos you will finally see the greens I mentioned before!  We watched Chef Michael Symon make these greens on his show, Symon's Suppers last week.  Being somewhat of a connoisseur of collard greens my brother was dying to try the recipe.  Instead of just the usual collards, the recipe calls for 3 different greens and my brother added a 4th (4 different green, 4 different oysters, I just caught  that!): collards, mustard, swiss chard and kale.

He braised the beautiful leafy greens for a couple of hours with a little garlic, onion, bacon and seasoned slightly with some slightly smokey seasoning I picked up at Trader Joe's a while back (more on that some other time because it is awesome!).  Those greens were the perfect healthy counter part to our rich meal of oysters and beer brats.  I forgot to mention the brats.  We also ate some salty, fatty, tasty beer brats.  Also, not on my P90X diet.  Neither is that buttered bread.

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P90X be... darned!  I ate the whole plate of delicious food!  It was an al fresco feast on the front patio, overlooking the river with family, eating and telling stories and I don't regret a moment of it.

Oh, but do try the greens!  They are easy, cheap and YUMMY!!!

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Growing up on the farm, eating according to the seasons was just elementary to us.   May meant cherries, because that's when they are growing in Northern CA. July meant the yummiest Independence nectarines, because that's when they were full of sugar from the summer sunshine.  Mom grew peppers and tomatoes in the summer and Grandma grew lettuce in the winter in big raised beds. Eating seasonally just makes sense because that's when food will taste its best.

So when I went to the grocery store and saw these beauties:

... gorgeous Rainbow Swiss Chard, I just had to buy them and make something yummy. So I bought 2 bunches and some of these:

These happen to be spicy cilantro chicken sausages but there are many flavors available and they are all good. And they come fully cooked, so cooking is speedy. If you haven't tried them yet, try the Aidell's brand.  Back to the swiss chard.

I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret...

I use my Iphone in the kitchen a lot. One of my favorite apps is "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman. It is the book, "How to Cook Everything", in digital format.  Mark Bittman writes for the New York Times and this cookbook is a valuable resource and has been a bestseller for years. To have access to the book at any time, like when I 'm wandering around in the grocery store, is such a time saver. I use it all the time.

Now if Ina would come out with a recipe app, my life would be complete.  Please Ina?  Please?

Anyway, when I got home and pulled out my swiss chard, I couldn't remember how to properly trim them up. So I simply looked up "swiss chard" in the app and voila, easy directions and cooking tips.

I washed my swiss chard  (it holds on to sand so rinse well) and started prepping it for the pan. Here's the most important thing to remember about swiss chard:

The stems are significantly thicker and more dense than the leaves. If you are sauteing (which I highly recommend), you need to cut out the thickest part of the stem and chop them up separately than the leaves.

It's not a big deal, it all goes pretty quickly. After you chop the stems and tear up the leaves you will have 2 beautiful piles that look like this:

I also chopped up some garlic, you don't need a picture of that. It's not very exciting. I drizzled some olive oil in a pan and turned the heat to medium.

I added the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and let them soften up for just a minute. Then I added all my bright stems:

Look at all the gorgeous color!  That color means healthy eating!

While the stems softened up, 3-4 minutes, I went to work on the chicken sausage. I cut mine on the bias into medallions.

Why on the bias? 1) I think it's prettier. 2) It creates more surface area. Why do I need more surface area? Because I caramelized my sausages before combining them with the swiss chard. This step is not crucial. If you are in a hurry and don't want to caramelize the sausage, it will not hurt my feelings. Because they are already fully cooked, you can cut them up any old way and throw them in the pan with the swiss chard. It will still be yummy. But I wanted to extract as much flavor as I could:

See that? That lovely browned goodness equals FLAVOR! It makes me happy. So while the swiss chard stems were cooking away, I browned these little sausage nuggets in a smaller pan. Afterward, I cooked the swiss chard leaves.

Right on top of the slightly softened swiss chard stems, I added the swiss chard leaves. Now, don't get scared. I had a huge mound of leaves in the pan.

Looks like they won't all fit, right? No worries, these leaves are going to shrink down significantly. The water will evaporate out, steaming the leaves and creating flavor. It will be OK, trust me.

See what I mean?! It only took 2-3 minutes for the huge pile of leaves to cook down to about 3 cups of greens. Perfect amount.  I checked them for done-ness after bout 3 minutes and they were softened but not quite enough for my taste so I added a glug of white wine and put the lid on for about 2 minutes. You can skip that step if you like, or add chicken stock or water. Or just let them keep cooking with the lid off, they will eventually soften up.   I just wanted to speed things up a bit and the wine does add another layer of flavor.

After the greens were softened to my liking, I added the browned sausage and let it all marry together for a minute or so:

"Bonjour swiss chard!"
"Bonjour chicken sausage!"

And that, my friends, is my easy Swiss Chard and Chicken Sausage.

I should tell you that I added a sprinkle of salt & pepper here and there but don't get carried away with the salt until you have added the sausage to the greens because the sausage tends to have a lot of salt in it already. Best to wait til the end and check for seasoning then.

If you are scared of swiss chard or can't find it in season you can substitute spinach, dandelion greens or any other "greens" you prefer.  Cooking times will vary, just keep an eye on it.

Try it!  You'll love it!

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