Sautéed Beet Greens With Cumin, Lemon Zest, And Crispy Fried Garlic

Sautéed Beet Greens With Cumin, Lemon Zest, And Crispy Fried Garlic
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Swiss chard is one of the most widely available (and consumed!) leafy greens. Beet greens, on the other hand, are usually unceremoniously tossed in the trash… the roots are typically the main attraction. But did you know that beets and Swiss chard belong to the same family of vegetables? In fact, the beet greens can be cooked exactly the same way you would cook Swiss chard. The only difference is that they have a hint of beet flavor to them, which makes them extra-delicious — at least to my taste buds. Whenever you're buying bunched beets, look for leaves that are bright green and perky. The freshness of the leaves guarantees the freshness of the roots. Plus, you get two for one — you'll cook the roots for sure, but you'll also sauté the tops to make this massively flavorful side dish!
  • 8 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • canola or safflower oil, for pan-frying
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • peel of 1/2 lemon, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 pound beet greens or swiss chard, stalks trimmed and leaves torn into 3-inch pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes
  1. Place the garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Dust with the flour and toss until the slices are well coated. Transfer the garlic to a medium-sized sieve and shake to remove excess flour.
  2. Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat and line a tray with paper towels. Add enough oil to come 1/8 inch up the sides of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and spread over the whole surface of the pan, in 1 layer.
  3. Pan-fry the garlic until golden-brown, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the garlic back to the sieve and let the excess oil drip, then transfer to the paper towels. Season with salt, to taste, and let cool to room temperature. Use the fried garlic within 24 hours.
  4. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, red chile pepper flakes, cumin seeds, and lemon zest and sauté until the lemon zest is golden, for about 1-2 minutes. Add half the beet greens and toss until wilted.
  5. Add the remaining leaves and continue to toss until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season with the salt, toss quickly, and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the crispy fried garlic and serve immediately.