There are few meals more comforting in the winter than a simple bowl of sautéed greens, brown rice, and maybe a small piece of fish or chicken. Mustard is my favorite variety of green by far, but I’m not picky in the winter — any cooking green will make for a satisfying (and light, particularly after Thanksgiving) meal. As we progress into winter, cooking greens are a vegetable that actually improves in eating quality; greens grow slower and the cool weather gives them a deeper color and sweeter, more robust flavor.
Cooking green varieties can vary depending on where you live but here are some of the more common varieties:
You can steam, sauté, braze, roast, or slow cook greens; or eat them raw for maximum nutritional value. My favorite method is a simple sauté:
One bunch of your favorite greens: rinse thoroughly and remove the large stems. Tear leaves into small, bite size pieces. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of olive or peanut oil over medium-high heat (I also add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil for flavor sometimes). Add greens and sauté until you reach a desired degree of doneness — I add a dash of soy sauce at the end right before serving. I like mine only slightly sautéed, so 8 to 10 minutes is good for me but cooking time can vary depending on the density of the leaf. I also add some fresh grated ginger at the end for a little extra zip.
It may be a little silly to get romantic about a vegetable but a bowl of greens, in a comfortable chair in a warm room, looking outside at the wind blowing the last leaves off the trees, is one of the best ways to steal a few quiet moments during the mad crush of the holidays — very satisfying for the body and soul.
— James Parker, global associate perishables coordinator for Whole Foods Market