Harvest Kitchen: A Diversity of Greens to Enjoy All Season Long

By Roberta Bailey

After last year’s rainy growing season, I spent the winter thinking about strategies for this growing season. We had standing water in garden rows numerous times throughout the growing year. Do I make raised beds and rows in all the gardens and field plots? If so, how high? What if we have a dry summer? Does the garlic need more top-dressing than usual due to nutrient leaching? Will the flea beetles be relentless again? Each answer will come with time, and I hope to have time to act or react.

Weather patterns used to be much more predictable. Now gardeners and farmers need to be more creative. Having diversity in plantings and multiple plantings are wise strategies. If one crop fails, another may thrive. Pay attention to what thrives under which conditions. What the weather will be remains a very wild card, but a greater knowledge of how the plants do in varying conditions will help. Choosing locally grown regional seed sources or saving your own seed when possible means that your seed is somewhat adapted to your area and weather conditions. A diversity of flavors will feed us as we learn.

Move over spinach, lettuce, chard and arugula. I am adding more radicchio, endive, chicory, gailaan, Senposai and a variety of Asian greens. Greens mature quickly and lend well to multiple plantings. Asian greens and most chicories thrive in the cooler days of spring and fall. Row cover or insect netting protects them from flea beetles. Some chicory, like Pan di Zucchero, withstands heat and remains sweet. Yokatta-Na, purple pac choy and radicchio grow well in spring and fall as well as all winter in a high tunnel, adding diversity to the usual spinach, lettuce, kale, cilantro and scallion plantings. Some radicchio and chicory will store two to four months in a root cellar or refrigerator for extended winter use. In milder winters and climates, they can overwinter.

Mediterranean greens can be added to any salad. Try substituting them freely. They are also great sauteed in garlic and olive oil, served with a splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt. They can be grilled, too. Asian greens go great in slaw and sautés, and can be steamed with tamari on them or mixed with noodles. I even steam them and add them to take-out dishes to give them some green vitality.

Here is a collection of recipes to diversify the entire growing season.

Takanazuke/Japanese Pickled Mustard Greens

Use as a condiment or mixed with rice or in a salad.

Harvest Kitchen 1 mustard greens

(Try substituting other greens like endive or young kale, or add chives or sliced scallion.)

12 oz. mustard greens, whole or stems removed

2 Tbsp. sea salt

1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. honey or sugar

¼ tsp. dried chili flakes (optional)

1 clove garlic, minced (or green garlic, very finely minced)

Chop the greens into ⅓-inch strips. In a bowl, toss them with sea salt. Cover them with a plate and add a 1-pound weight onto the plate to press the greens. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Rinse the greens well. Wring them well, by hand or twisted in a tea towel. Place them in a very clean pint jar.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the rice vinegar, honey/sugar, chili and garlic. Warm until well mixed but not boiling: about two minutes. Pour the brine over the greens, making sure they are well submerged. Add more brine as the greens settle. Place the lid on the jar and let sit on the counter for 24 hours. Move to the refrigerator and let sit one more day. If chilled, the greens will keep for one month.

Radicchio, Endive and Raspberry Salad

Harvest Kitchen 2 radicchio

Serves six.

1 shallot

1 radicchio

2-3 small heads of curly endive

2 cups fresh firm raspberries (or diced ripe pear)

1 Tbsp. white balsamic or red wine vinegar

6 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Place in a small bowl with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Rinse and dry the greens. Tear them into bite-sized pieces. Add the olive oil to the shallots. Toss with the greens. Season with salt and pepper. Gently add the raspberries.  

Thai Cucumber Salad with Tatsoi

Serves four to five.

Dressing:

¼ cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)

2 Tbsp. honey or sugar

3 Tbsp. fish sauce

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

Salad:

2-2 1/2 lbs. young pickling or peeled cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated

2 small heads of tatsoi

2 tsp. salt

10-15 leaves Thai basil, chopped into thirds or quarters

¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, ground

 Cooked chicken breast or peeled shrimp (optional)

Mix dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Wash and slice the cucumbers, peeling only if the skins are tough. Mix with the carrot and salt. Chop the base off the tatsoi rosettes, and cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. Stir into the cucumber mix. Set aside for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Stir the dressing into the cucumber mixture. Add the Thai basil, peanuts and ground toasted sesame seeds. Add shrimp or chicken if desired.

Gailaan/Chinese Broccoli with Carrot Ginger Sauce

Trim and steam gailaan until just tender to the bite. While still hot, toss with carrot ginger sauce (which also makes a great salad dressing).

Harvest Kitchen 4 ginger

Sauce:

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

1 small shallot or large scallion

1-2 Tbsp. fresh ginger root (about a 1-inch piece), to taste

1 small clove garlic

2 Tbsp. white or chickpea miso

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. water

Blend together in a food processor or blender until very smooth.

Classic Asian Greens Sauce

Heat:

2 Tbsp. neutral vegetable oil

1 tsp. sesame oil

Add:

2-3 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp. grated ginger

Cook for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass bowl or jar.

Stir in:

 2-4 tsp. tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp. honey

Optional: for a thicker sauce, add 2-3 Tbsp. oyster sauce

Mix well and pour over steamed greens. It will keep in the refrigerator for three months.

Cheesy Chicory/Radicchio Pasta

Serves four to five.

Harvest Kitchen 6 cheese

1 lb. penne or rigatoni pasta

1 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts or almonds

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ lbs. radicchio or dense chicory heads, sliced into 1-inch ribbons

4-6 oz. gorgonzola or other soft blue cheese

½ cup chopped parsley

Grated pecorino or Parmesan for serving (optional)

Salt and pepper

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, saving 1 ½ cups cooking water.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Toast the nuts for four to five minutes, stirring to avoid burning. Remove from heat, set the nuts aside and wipe the pan clean. Heat the olive oil in the pan. Add the radicchio or chicory and toss until wilted. Some browning is fine. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the gorgonzola and ½ cup reserved cooking water. Simmer for one to two minutes, creating a velvety sauce. Add the pasta to the skillet and combine with the sauce and greens, adding more pasta water as needed to create a glossy sauce. Add the nuts and half the parsley, and stir. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve with grated cheese if desired. 

Chicory and White Beans

3 cups cooked white beans (cannellini or any type)

1 lb. escarole, chicory or Batavian endive, leaves separated and rinsed

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

½-1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

Minced chives (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Immerse the greens in the water and cook for two minutes. Transfer to an ice water bath to completely chill. Squeeze out the water and chop coarsely.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add the rosemary, greens and the white beans. Cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with minced chives.

This article was originally published in the summer 2024 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Want more seasonal recipe inspiration? Sign up for our monthly local and organic kitchen emails.

Categories
Scroll to Top
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter of happenings at MOFGA.