Since I enjoy doing it so much, I have recently (as in yesterday) been promoted from general help to general help plus official greens-thinner. Clearly I am moving up in the world. What this highly esteemed position entails is going through the recently transplanted greens (such as lettuce and chard) and taking out any extra plants in the beds. I actually feel rather cruel doing it, because if only one can be left behind to flourish in the now empty space, you want it to be the strongest and most robust one. This inevitably means taking out the runts with a well-placed snip. Sad, but necessary. It also helps that we eat the baby greens, and that they are incredibly tender.
One of the many benefits of growing your own food is that you get to eat things you can’t find in the grocery store, and sometimes not even at the farmer’s market. Thinning plants is a necessary task that yields little gems of a meal: a baby greens salad or slightly wilted side dish to name but a few. I’ve heard it said that to truly eat well, you have to be a banker or a farmer. I guess we know which one I’m leaning towards.
Sauteed Baby Chard with Shallots and Garlic
1 lb Young Greens ( I used Chard, but any green would be wonderful)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 largish shallots, minced
2 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Thoroughly rinse your greens; pulling apart larger bunches if still connected. Mince your garlic and shallot. In a pan melt your butter and then add in the olive oil. Once hot, scoop in the shallots and garlic and allow to cook until just fragrant and slightly browning. Add a pinch of salt and a smattering of pepper (but just a little, the onions and shallots do the heavy lifting flavor wise).
Now it’s time for the greens. The leaves are going to shrink considerably, so you may have to add them in two or three batches. Add enough to fill the pan, then allow to cook down, splashing in a little stock or water to aid them. Once there’s room, add more greens. Continue this process until all your greens are in the pan. Covering the pan with a laid for thirty seconds to a few minutes will also help speed your cooking time and keep anything from getting burnt. Depending on your equipment and greens, you will have to make the judgment call. I have faith, so should you. When wilted and bright green, serve immediately.