I know we're lucky to get a variety of greens in the winter here in Northern California, unlike our Canadian readers who are driving to Vermont for kale, or eyeing the limp imports warily. But I am sick of kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, even lettuce. I want tomatoes, dammit! I held some bright red, on-the-vine hothouse tomatoes from Holland longingly the other day at the Berkeley Bowl before putting them back.
Anyway, after owning Eric Gower's "Breakaway Japanese Kitchen" cookbook for several years, it's only just now sunk in that his recipes are based on combining seasonal tastes — or at least seasonal for California. Thus the following recipe for greens with citrus. It's made me look at spinach and kale in a whole new light! The orange juice really cuts the bitterness of the greens, and together they make a delicious winter "salad."
Greens and oranges
From "The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen" by Eric Gower
2 bunches of greens (any non-lettuce greens, like spinach, kale, or collards)
Several teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 TB brown rice vinegar or other vinegar to taste (I used plain rice vinegar)
Fresh ground black pepper
Juice of 1/4 orange or other orange citrus
Several orange sections, all membranes removed
Zest of one orange, minced
Put a pot of water on to boil. Rinse and trim greens of thick stems and imperfections, then boil them briefly. Drain and rinse with cold water. When slightly cooled, squeeze out as much water with your hands as you can. (Gower says you can save this mineral-rich water for making rice or soup stock, so I froze mine.) Roughly chop the greens and put them in a bowl; add olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Mix and adjust seasoning to taste. Squeeze the orange juice over the greens, add a few orange sections, and sprinkle the zest over it all better than I did in the photo. Serve at room temperature.
Note — my spinach came from my CSA box, and was a little cosmetically damaged by the frost. I just tore off the worst discolored sections and cooked the rest.