Monday, April 22, 2019

Cheesy Greens and Beans on Toast

Think of Cheesy Greens and Beans on Toast the way you do scrambled eggs: a 5-minute meal that’s simple comfort food nonpareil, as appropriate for dinner as it is for breakfast, lunch, or anytime in between. Despite being in the nascent stages of the spring produce growing calendar, there are lots of delightful gems at the farmers market right now; and it’s easy to make this dish seasonal despite lacking the asparagus, peas, and ramps we so wistfully crave but aren’t due for another few weeks. 



As I’ve mentioned in Indian Tofu with Lambsquarters 3 years ago, Lani’s Farm at the GrowNYC Greenmarket offers an abundance of obscure and delicious dark leafy greens that just beg to be chopped, sautéed and wilted in a trifecta of olive oil, garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. The best part about this tried-and-true recipe is that it’s foolproof, allowing you to dabble in some Japanese varietals that may seem, at first, too foreign to buy. Last week, I encountered tatsoi, a marriage of spinach and bok choy, yu choy (bok choy's cousin), ashitba, pak choy, wasabi mustard greens, and Chinese broccoli, to name a few. 

Seemingly less exciting are the scallions and radishes that have been around since winter, but they somehow propel this dish forward into spring. (Plus, I never tire of the radish’s bright violet and magenta hues, sometimes swirled with white, like a bowling ball, or cotton candy ice cream).

I don’t think a ton of work needs to be done to sell this recipe. Garlicky sautéed greens, spicy cubed radish, and creamy white beans are stacked a top thick, toasted sourdough with lots of melty Parmesan cheese; the first bite is a soul-warming gift. There are lots of options for substitutions, as this should be a pantry recipe—something you keep in the back of your head for late, harried dinners or a day when you have time to go visit the farmers market or the grocery store, but not both. Whatever the reason, this recipe is your bridge to warm weather, and all the delightful flora that comes with it (I see you, magnolia, hibiscus and tulips!) as we wait for the local harvest calendar to catch up to the season and our vernal-yearning mindsets. 

Cheesy Greens and Beans on Toast
Makes 2 toasts + 1 ½ cup side of greens

Ingredients:

1 bunch dark leafy greens, roughly chopped (stems too)
2 scallions, minced (leeks, onion or shallot work, too)
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 radishes, diced
¾ cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chicken broth (optional)
2 tsp coconut aminos, 1 tsp soy sauce, or dash of salt to taste
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese (2 tbps to ¼ cup, depending on desired level of cheesiness)
Red or white wine vinegar
2 slices of toasted thick bread, such as sourdough

Directions:

1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add garlic and chili flakes, stirring frequently to ensure garlic doesn’t burn, about 2 minutes. Add scallions and radish, cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Add greens to pan. Cook for a few minutes until greens begin to wilt a little. Add chicken broth (if using) and coconut aminos/soy sauce/salt. Stir frequently, until greens are uniformly cooked through and wilted down, a few more minutes. Stir in beans, cook for 1 more minute.
3. Remove from heat and taste greens, add more salt, or hot red pepper flakes, if desired. Stir in cheese, and drizzle with vinegar. Spoon a top toasts until they are piled high.

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