Precooking and marinating greens is a terrific way to extend their shelf life—once they’re cooked, they’ll be edible for several days longer than if kept raw in the crisper. It’s also a way to frontload the labor of cleaning and cooking them so that they can be more easily repurposed later on in the week: stuffed into an omelet, used as filling for a quesadilla or a sandwich, added to pasta or a sauté, or, as here, simply piled onto a good piece of toast. For bread, I recommend using a loaf that’s crusty, with a structured but airy crumb that soaks up the toppings without getting soggy, such as an Italian pugliese or French boule. This recipe is also the basis of a favorite easy appetizer of mine: slices of toasted baguette spread with smears of goat cheese and adorned with little piles of marinated greens. Or elevate this snack to a main dish by topping the toasts with fried or poached eggs.
This recipe is reprinted with permission from the "Weeknights" issue of the Feast by Lukas digital quarterly. —LukasVolger
big bunches (about 1-1/2 pounds) leafy greens: Swiss chard, lacinato kale, mature spinach or arugula, beet greens, or a combination of any of the above, well washed
olive oil, plus additional for toasting bread
clove garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Lemon juice, to taste
slices good bread (see note)
Parmesan chese, shaved, grated, or crumbled (optional)
In This Recipe
Trim off tough stems from the greens, and discard or reserve for another use. Chop or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and stir for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the greens, in batches if necessary, and a big pinch of salt and gently cook, stirring with tongs, until wilted and tender. Cooking times will vary depending on type of green, so watch and taste as you go. If cooking a combination of different greens, cook each type separately. Add a splash of water to the pan if it dries out.
Transfer to a colander to drain and cool until safe to handle. Gently squeeze out excess liquid using your hands or a spatula or wooden spoon, pressing against the side of the colander.
Place in a medium bowl and loosen up the greens. Gently stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon, pepper flakes, or salt as needed. They can be served immediately, or up to a few days later. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.
To serve, brush the bread with a bit of olive oil, then broil, toast, or grill until crisp and beginning to brown. (If using a pop-up toaster rather than a toaster oven, brush with olive oil after toasting.) Divide the marinated greens over the toasts, sprinkle with Parmesan, drizzle with a bit more olive oil if you’d like. Serve the toasts cut into smaller squares or triangles, or whole, with a knife and fork.