Greens. Love or Hate?

Greens. We either love them or we don’t. At least, that is my unscientific observation at the mere mention of this word in the culinary world. I love them—some more than others. Often seen as the quintessential southern dish, greens are eaten, well…all over the world. Perhaps it’s because they are inexpensive and nutrient rich or maybe because they are quite abundant. And by greens, I mean all greens…collards, spinach, kale, Swiss shard, turnip, mustard, beet, sweet potato, and more. I am sure I have missed a few exotic ones, but suffice it to say, there are a lot of greens out there.

Kale and spinach have enjoyed ego boosts lately due to the health craze of green smoothies and juicing; however, I would venture to guess that the consumption of all greens has increased. Let’s face it, greens are good for us. When thoughtfully prepared, they taste good, too. In an age of the awareness of mounting food waste and farmers markets where we can get beautiful produce with the greens still attached, greens are getting a second look from chefs and consumers alike.

Stewed, sautéed, flash-fried, puréed, or chopped raw in a salad—any way you eat them, greens can be a flavorful dish. The key is picking the best greens for the recipe. Some greens are best stewed for a good amount of time with seasonings that compliment their earthiness and a cooking time that makes them tender (collards, mustard greens, turnip greens). Others can be enjoyed raw or lightly sautéed (kale, spinach, Swiss chard).   I have even had them fried. On that note…if you ever visit Chef Vivian Howard’s restaurant in Kinston, NC, Chef and the Farmer, you MUST order the fried collards. They will blow your mind.

My favorite “go to” recipe for a quick side dish of healthy greens, is to sauté them in olive oil with sliced garlic. If you like a little heat, add red pepper flakes to the oil before sautéing. This recipe can be done with kale, spinach, beet greens, or Swiss chard. It is delicious on its own or you can use it as an ingredient in the recipe below. It’s perfect for breakfast or a light lunch. The addition of Two Chicks Farm Spicy Red Pepper Jelly was my attempt to use this tasty ingredient in more recipes. And, as we all know…everything is better with a fried egg on it!

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Glazed Greens with Fried Eggs

  • 1 bunch kale, spinach, or Swiss Chard
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Spicy Red Pepper Jelly
  • 2 slices artisan bread
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • butter
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The beautiful greens pictured here were from Colorfield Farms. You can visit them at the Western Wake Farmers Market every Saturday!

  1. If using kale, remove the spines from each leaf. Chop greens into bite-sized pieces
  2. Heat about 3 tbs. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add, garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add greens and sauté for about 4-5 minutes or until wilted. Remove from heat and add 1-2 tbs. red pepper jelly, salt, and pepper.
  4. Evenly divide the greens over two pieces of toasted bread. Top each with a fried egg—I use a little butter and some olive oil to fry my eggs. Salt and pepper to taste.

Want more info on the various types of greens and what to do with them? Visit The Science of Eating.

Frittata: Create Something Great!

I love a frittata. Add a salad and some bread, and you have a perfect brunch, lunch, or dinner. Frittatas are easy to make and can be personalized to suit your taste. There is an abundance of farm fresh eggs at the local farmers market in the spring when the chickens come out of their winter slump. Grab a dozen eggs and some spring market finds like asparagus, spinach, and parsley. Cheese makes a frittata a bit more luscious, but isn’t necessary if you want to leave it out. There are plenty of amazing goat dairies here in the Triangle, so if you are going to add cheese—make it goat cheese!

A frittata is as Italian as it sounds. It is much like an omelet except that it is intended to by eaten by the slice. The Spanish tortilla is similar to the frittata, but notably it contains only potatoes and is “inverted” using a plate to enable the cooking of both sides in the frying pan. My brother-in-law is from Madrid. He has attempted to teach me this necessary move in tortilla making, but alas…I still have much to learn.

The next time you don’t know what to make for dinner or you decide to invite friends over for Sunday brunch, make a frittata. Here is a recipe to get you started, but don’t stop there; creating your own take on the frittata is what it’s all about!

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, & Goat Cheese Frittata

Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 10 eggs (pasture-raised, farm-fresh if possible)
  • 2 tbs. water
  • ½ tsp. Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2-3 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 ½ c. onion – quartered and sliced thin
  • 2 c. chopped spinach
  • ½ c. goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. To the eggs, add: water, salt, pepper, and Italian herb seasonings. Whisk to incorporate and set aside.
  3. Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until they begin to caramelize.
  4. Add spinach and continue to sauté for about 1 minute until spinach is wilted. Add salt to taste.
  5. Distribute the spinach and onion mixture evenly in the pan. Whisk the eggs to re-incorporate the mixture and pour evenly over the spinach/onion mixture in the pan.
  6. Crumble or dollop the goat cheese evenly throughout the pan. Push the cheese into the mixture slightly.
  7. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 7-10 minutes
  8. Turn oven to broil for 2 minutes until top of frittata is set and golden.
  9. Remove from oven and allow the pan to cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter.

Zucchini, Onion, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Frittata