At last month’s Greek Supper Club, I served up whole grilled lavraki flown in from Greece and although it wasn’t on the menu, I decided to serve boiled horta (greens) as a side to the fish. It’s a MUST.
In Greece, folks will go for walks to forage wild edible greens with the most common being vlita and dandelions. Other greens that could be used are mustard greens, nettles and I could go on – in Greece there are hundreds of varieties of edible greens.
We don’t have that luxury here but I’ve found vlita (amaranth), dandelions and mustard greens at Asian markets. Try boiling some of the greens found at these markets, you might find one of them to suit your tastes.
Tossing garlic scapes with boiled greens was inspired by the Peloponnese, where they love serving Skordalia with their boiled greens. Garlic scapes are the “flower” of a garlic plant but they appear more like a long thin stem. They appear after about a month of growth and they are cut off so that the plant forms a garlic bulb.
I was given a bag of garlic scapes from Stone Soup Farms and I love grilling them to accompany grilled meat or fish, they make great pestos or supplant garlic in any dish.
After I have boiled the greens and they have cooled, I add the grilled garlic scapes and toss together. The combination of bitter greens, a hint of smoke from charred garlic scapes, olive oil and lemon juice. Ahhh, one could eat the whole bowl!
Boiled Greens With Grilled Garlic Scapes
2 lbs. of vlita, mustard greens or dandelions
sea salt to taste
2 cups of whole garlic scapes (use scallions if you can’t find garlic scapes)
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
plenty of extra-virgin olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
lemon juice (try grilling them)
- Trim/remove any really thick bottoms of the stalks of your greens and place in a basin or sink and fill with cold water. Replace water two or three times to remove sand and grit. Rinse, drain and reserve.
- Add 2 inches of water into a large pot and cover. Once boiling, add a good amount of salt (salty as the sea) and add all your greens and cover (the greens will steam, and wilt – no worries) and after about 7 minutes, poke a fork or knife in the stalks to test for doneness. Continue boiling if needed, check again.
- Empty your pot of cooked greens into a large colander and run cold water over them to cool to warm. Allow water to drain.
- To prepare the garlic scapes, place in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill on high heat for about 1-2 minutes/side. Transfer back to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the garlic scapes to sweat for 10 minutes.
- Transfer your greens into a bowl and add your garlic scapes, and olive oil and toss gently. Adjust seasoning with sea salt and squeeze fresh lemon juice, toss again.
- Serve with more wedges of lemon juice and olive oil for those who wish more with their boiled greens. Serve with grilled fish and seafood.
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