Jun 10, 2012

creamed spinach/collard greens/pea tendrils

Last week we got tons of greens from Fresh Fork.  So many, in fact, that the two of us couldn't easily eat all of them.  So, before they start going bad, I decided to use several of the different veggies in a recipe together.

I've cooked with spinach a good bit, am fairly new to collard greens, and knew nothing about pea tendrils (until last week when I started to do some research).  Collard greens tend to be the tougher, more bitter cousin to spinach.  Pea tendrils are sweeter, but have a tough stem that needs to cook well to work in this recipe.  They all seem to work well together.

This is a basic creamed spinach recipe that I adjusted to fit my CSA ingredients (*).  Feel free to use all one green (collards, spinach, pea tendrils) or any combination.

Creamed Spinach/Collard Greens/Pea Tendrils
Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic scapes* (substitute 3-4 cloves garlic, minced)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1 bunch collard greens*
  • 1/4 lb pea tendrils*
  • 1 bunch spinach*
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Before you get started, prepare your produce.  Wash the garlic scapes, collard greens, spinach, and pea tendrils.  Set them aside to dry as you continue.  Cut the bud off of the garlic scapes and discard.  Dice the lower end of the garlic scapes into small rounds.   Remove and discard the stem from the collard greens and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Cut the stems off of the spinach and discard the stems.  Pull the "tendrils" off of the pea tendrils (just the curly ends) and discard the curly part.

Spinach and collard greens

Garlic scapes and pea tendrils

Big collard leaf

Pea tendrils, with tendrils removed

Garlic scape with bulb removed

Chopped garlic scapes

Start by heating a large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the butter and allow it to melt.  Add the diced garlic scapes to the pan and let them infuse the butter for a minute or two, whisking occasionally.  Whisk the flour into the garlic butter until it forms a paste.  Pour in the milk and whisk it until there aren't any lumps and the cream starts to thicken.

Garlic scapes sauteing

Prepared cream

Add the collard greens and pea tendrils (we actually added our pea tendrils later, but they ended up a little tough, so I would add them earlier with the collards) to the pan, coating them with the cream.  Cover the pan and continue to let it cook, stirring every minute or so to avoid burning.  Once the collards and pea tendrils have become tender (probably 4-5 minutes), add the spinach in a couple batches.  Continue to cook the greens over medium-low heat, stirring often with the lid off.  Once all of the greens are tender, add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

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