I may have a new favorite way to eat greens.
For a second, forget about what I know you must be anticipating as amazingness in the crostini. Ok. Done? Just for a moment… Because we need to talk about greens.
Not too long ago I talked about bitter greens and offered a few suggestions for their unbittering. I mentioned, but didn’t go into detail about braising. But, now that I’ve tried it, I may never go back to any other way of cooking greens. (Ok, that maaaaay be a bit dramatic…)
Braised greens are simply amazing.
Llano Seco sent me a ham hock. I just had to try braising the greens with it. Oooooh boy! What a fun treat. If you can find one, I’d totally recommend it. It will be worth it. If you can’t, vegetarian is wonderful as well. I’ve made braised greens both ways. I’ve enjoyed them all immensely.
The greens braised for about two hours. I’ve tried them after shorter amounts of time and they’re great too. So if you don’t have a lot of time, don’t worry about it. But, if you’ve got a few hours to spare, try it. (And by a few hours I mean a tiny bit of time to get the ingredients into a pot, then just one eyeball on the pot every so often.) The result is tender, flavorful, AWESOME greens.
Now we can talk about the crostini.
Sorry. Wait. I need to interrupt myself again to tell you that I made these, then I stood beside the photography table and devoured them. I just couldn’t stop.
So there was a ham hock in the greens. Then there’s some Llano Seco Italian Sausage that’s chopped up and heated in a few tablespoons of the braising liquid. You could really just end there with the greens and sausage. Pile it all on some rice or potatoes and call it dinner.
But, I didn’t do that.
I wanted some little toasts. So I sliced up a baguette, drizzled it with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. They toasted up in the oven for a few minutes.
They were topped with some of the greens, and a few pieces of sausage. And then… a squeeze of lemon. One of my favorite ways to finish a dish.
If you can, share with friends. They will be glad you did.
- Braised Greens: 2 T olive oil
- 2 C celery, chopped
- 1 radish, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 7 C vegetable stock
- 1 ham hock
- 8-9 C greens (mixture of any: chard, kale, collards, spinach…), roughly chopped
- 2 T white vinegar
- Crostini: 10-20 slices of baguette
- olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- 3-4 T braising liquid
- 2-3 Italian sausages, halved and chopped
- lemon wedges, for serving
- Heat a soup pot. Add oil. Add celery, radish, garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add ham hock and cook for 2 minutes. Add greens and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring every once in a while.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Drizzle baguette slices with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until crispy. Rub with a clove of garlic if desired.
- Add 3-4 T of the braising liquid to a skillet and add the sausage. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
- Top each slice of toasted baguette with some greens (try to avoid too much braising liquid so they don’t get soggy), a few pieces of sausage, and a squeeze of lemon.
- Serve immediately.