Great Greens

The finished dish

I didn’t grow up eating greens. They weren’t exactly a staple in a 1960s /1970s Mexican-American household. But any ingredient whose typical preparation involves salt pork and hot sauce can’t be anywhere near bad, and I’ve had awesome Southern-style greens, served with crisp fried chicken and cornbread. Mmmm. But Southern style greens take about an hour to cook, and I wanted something fast. Enter Mario Batali with quick wilted greens with garlic and anchovies. I know, anchovies. I don’t use them often, think they smell like cat food. And the cats agree. The furballs rarely come to the kitchen while I’m cooking, but crack open a tin of anchovies and suddenly 3 begging pairs of eyes are boring into my soul. Anyway, don’t let the smell make you skip the anchovies; they give wonderful salty joy to the dish, and the scent will blend in with the garlic and the greens. Oh, and I used what I thought was a HUGE amount of greens– about a full plastic shopping bag full, and got about 4 servings.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 head escarole or 1 head or bunch other sturdy leafy green, such as dandelions or turnip greens, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide ribbons, washed and spun dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¬†1/2 lemon

Heat a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, anchovies, and garlic and cook just until the garlic is light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the greens and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze the lemon juice over, and serve.