My First “Salad” Post: Greens and Beans

15 Nov

I hate salads. Salads of the green, leafy persuasion. Top it off with a gooey slice of tomato or shreds of brownish-purplish cabbage and you have created the absolute last thing I would ever want to consume for sustenance. There. I said it. Sorry Mom, sorry god, but it’s true. I hate making salads, eating salads, ordering salads, you name it. There is nothing I despise more than being half way through a salad, especially if it’s the whole of my meal, and realizing that the dressing on the first bite was the only gratifying part of the whole experience. I am perplexed by the fact that no matter how much salad I choke down, what’s left on the plate doesn’t seem to decrease ever. I will not ever order a salad as an entree at a restaurant, and will only consider consuming a small side salad if it comes with dinner simply to make an example of it. And of course, you will not ever see salad greens in my shopping cart for any reason ever… which was why Tre was so shocked to see me place a bag of escarole on the belt at Wegmans this Sunday. Without shame, he pointed at the bag and accusingly muttered “what is this!?”

I hate salads. I’ll say it again because I think of them as being little more than a foliage mechanism by which we consume salad dressing since it’s societally unacceptable to simply drink it out of the bottle. Enter what I call “Green Guilt.” No, it’s not some marketing ploy aimed at making the nightmarish task of wrangling up my recyclables and dragging them down three flights to the curb morally gratifying. It’s the feeling that I’m not getting as much “foliage” as I should simply because I’m fundamentally opposed to salads. That’s not to say I don’t eat vegetables, quite the contrary. Tre and I basically live on carrots, celery, potatoes, and peppers. Onions and garlic cameo in almost every one of our meals. Eggplant and mushrooms are some of my favorite meat substitutes. Not to mention I have a penchant for cooking with fresh herbs instead of their dried and powdered counterparts. But when it comes to the most essential and proverbial vegetable dish, salads, I opt for almost anything else.

Just how I like my salads... about to be cooked!

The escarole in my cart wasn’t going to be let off so easily, not without my hand at making it into something I actually consider palatable. For some reason, the magic of cooking transforms the salad experience for me from foliage grazing to eating a meal that was intended for human consumption. Instead of making a salad, I decided to give greens and beans an honest shot at winning my affection. Greens and beans is a phenomenal side dish, especially in the fall when you crave meals that are altogether served hot. Some people describe greens and beans as being bland in flavor, but I’m assuming they just aren’t using enough garlic. The simple version I cooked up has a mild, yet distinct garlic flavor making it the perfect complement to a spicy Italian sausage or as a topper for a basic pasta — which was how my mom used to prepare it for us.

Greens and Beans

  • 7 oz (about 4 loose cups, or one prepackaged bag) escarole or other dark salad green such as kale, spinach, or mustard greens.
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock, more or less depending on amount of greens
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. In a large, deep pan, heat olive oil over low heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until they start to become transparent, about 5-8 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and crushed red pepper to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until liquid has somewhat reduced. Add cannellini beans, stir, and return to a boil.
  3. Once mixture is boiling, add the greens to the pan. Using tongs, toss the greens in the liquid until they begin to wilt. Simmer uncovered until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

After the greens have wilted, this dish is still green.

I like to minimize the amount of time the greens are cooked so they maintain a slight crispness while absorbing some of the other flavors. Reducing cook time also helps preserve the nutrients of the salad greens.

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One Response to “My First “Salad” Post: Greens and Beans”

  1. Tre November 15, 2010 at 3:09 PM #

    This was delicious kel!

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