Spring greens with Gorgonzola

by Jeanne on May 10, 2009

in Recipes - gluten-free, Recipes - vegetarian, Vegetable side dishes, Weekend Herb Blogging

SpringGreensWebTitle 

Spring has proverbially sprung.  The grass certainly is riz – just ask Nick who has already spent a coule of hours of quality time with the lawnmower this year!  The daffodils have come and gone, the tulips are still (mostly) around, and we are braaing more and more frequently.  All is well with the world!

The other great thing about Spring is the return of the vegetables and fruit that we have been missing all winter long.  English Asparagus, zucchini, broad beans and fresh peas are all creeping slowly back into the stores (although I see we are importing blackberries from Mexico at the moment… I despair!), giving me renewed appetite for lighter, more summery cooking.  But, that said, nights can still be pretty nippy and sometimes you just don't feel like a crunchy salad, but a more warming vegetable dish.

I had never come across spring greens before I moved to the UK and, truth be told, I was deeply suspicious of these bags of unidentified green leaves for the first few years here.  my ignorance is not surprising because, according to the venerable Wikipedia, spring greens were mainly grown and prized in northern Europe because of their ability to withstand the cold Winters and produce a fresh green crop in early Spring. 

Spring greens belong to the species Brassica Oleracea which has been cultivated for thousands of years and includes cultivars such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts.  The particular cultivar group to which spring greens belong is called Brassica Oleracea Acephala, or the "headless" Brassicas, to which kale and collard greens also belong.  The name refers to the fact that none of these plants form compact "heads" of leaves in the way that cabbage or Brussels sprouts to, but rather a loose collection of leaves.  This loose arrangement of leaves means that each leaf gets full exposure to the sun and elements, which results in greener, coarser leaves that a cabbage.  The tough leaves and strong taste are off-putting to some people, but the benefits are that the leaves are particularly rich in Vitamin C, folic acid, iron and dietary fibre.

The recipe that I most often use to prepare these is simple and a little indugent with the addition of the Gorgonzola, but you still get the full benefit of the lovely green leaves and their nutty flavour.  I served mine with a tomatoey chicken casserole, but it would also make a great partner for a grilled steak.

It's been far too long since I last participated in my friend Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging event, now administered by Haalo.  I'm submitting this post as my entry to this week's hostess, the lovely Chris of Melecotte.  Make sure you check out the round-up later this week!

SPRING GREENS WITH GORGONZOLA (serves 4)

Ingredients

1 large head of spring greens (about 4 cups shredded leaves)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
25-50g Gorgonzola or similar blue cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it!)
3 Tbsp cream
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Wash the spring greens thoroughly and slice them into 1cm strips horizontally.  Keep the thicker pieces of stem and centre spine to one side.  Bring a small pot of water to the boil and place a steamer over it.  Place the pieces of stem and spine in the steamer, covered, for about 2 minutes on their own before adding the leaves.  Steam for no more than 5 minutes in total, until the leaves and stems are wilted and softening but not soggy.

In the meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion over medium heat.  Sautée until the onions are translucent.  Once the greens have been steamed, increase the heat under the onions and add the greens.  Continue to sautée, stirring continuously to prevent them sticking or burning.  Crumble the cheese into the pot and stir until almost melted, then add the cream. 

Remove from the heat and stir until all leaves are coated.  Check for seasoning and add salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerri May 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm

We both love Spring greens and have been eating them with most meals lately, usely just lightly steamed with some garlic. I love the addition of cheese though, it makes everything better doesn’t it?!

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nina May 11, 2009 at 6:52 am

…any idea what it would be called here in SA??? I love gorgonzola and the creaminess it adds to a dish!!!Yum!!

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Kit May 11, 2009 at 8:49 am

I remember spring greens now – something that no self-respecting child would ever eat! Maybe we would have done if they’d been as creamy as yours!
I don’t think you get them here in SA at all -we just eat swiss chard packaged as spinach all year round!

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Johanna May 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm

so that is what they are – I have a few recipes for spring greens but have never really understood them – I think I have just substituted rocket and the like – love the idea of gorgonzola with any greens

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grace May 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm

leave it to you to make boring ol’ greens elegant and super-savory. excellent dish, jeanne.

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Annemarie May 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Ooh, num num. A good way to take your healthy spring greens and make them stand up to the occasional cold evening demanding a bit more fatty warmth. :)

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David Engel May 11, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Everything looks delicious.
Thanks,
David
http://www.globalaroundtown.blogspot.com

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TreehouseChef May 12, 2009 at 3:10 am

I love greens and gorgonzola. Great combo! Beautiful photo too!

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courtney May 12, 2009 at 3:42 am

Love how you creted the dressing for the grrens. So creamy and rich.

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Jan May 12, 2009 at 6:28 am

Oooh now I could eat those greens right now (yes 6am) LOL
Great idea!

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Bellini Valli May 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I saw the lilacs blooming the other day too. Sprin is here greens and all:D

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Dennis May 12, 2009 at 5:54 pm

oh it looks soooo goood!
I will add a little more Gorgonzola on my as I’m a Gorgonzola’s maniac :D
Dennis
http://www.witu.com

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Rico May 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Super delicious one ,well presented loved it :) xx Rico-Recipes

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Rico May 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Gorgonzola one of my favourite melting cheeses for greens, yet I don’t use it much as my wife doesn’t like it….so I enjoy looking at it here and seeing how well this recipe is presented, and I taste it in my mind…well done thx for sharing :) xx Rico-Recipes

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african vanielje May 13, 2009 at 11:16 am

Yum. As usual. Why, when I cook myself, do I always feel a twinge of envy when I check out what you are eating, Jeanne?

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Elizabeth May 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm

This is what I love about the internet. I’ve never heard of “spring greens” but we certainly see kale and collards for sale. They’re favourites for stir-frying with garlic.
What a great idea to add gorgonzola!

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Kevin May 27, 2009 at 2:02 am

Another great way to enjoy my favorite cheese gorgonzola, I mean Spring greens! :)

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