This recipe uses a cooking technique called “blanching.” When you blanch vegetables, they retain their color, crunch, vitamins and minerals. The dark leafy greens are cooked briefly in boiling water and then submerged in ice water to stop the cooking process. It is a great way to cook a lot of vegetables and then store them in the refrigerator to use at a later time and they will still be vibrant and crunchy. You can use any combination of dark leafy greens. We paired the greens with a flavorful citrus sauce. The sweetness from the orange juice will compliment the bitterness of the kale.
- 4 cups dark leafy greens (kale and beet greens)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon chili oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- Bowl of ice water
Clean the kale under running cold water, unfurling the leaves to make sure all the dirt is gone. Next, remove the leafy ends of the greens from the tough stems. Hold the stem in one hand, grasp the leafy part with your other hand and fold in half and tear away from the stem. Discard the stem and tear the leafy ends in to smaller chunks. With the beet greens, cut off the beet root and chop the greens in to chunks with a knife.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the greens and bring the water back to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, remove the greens and put them into a large bowl filled with ice and water. This will shock the greens and immediately stop the cooking process. Although it is tempting to simply drain the greens and run them under cold water, doing that will not completely stop the cooking process. If you use the ice water it will truly keep the color of the greens vibrant and the texture of them crisp. You can now eat the greens as is, store them in the refrigerator for use in soups, stir frys, or wraps, or even freeze them in plastic bags for later use.
Next prepare the Citrus Garlic Sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a skillet; add the chopped garlic and sauté until caramelized. Add the chili oil if you desire a little heat in this dish. Next, add the orange juice, scraping the sides of the skillet with the liquid to deglaze the flavorful caramelized garlic and blend it into the sauce. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Then add the soy sauce and optional chili flakes. Continue to simmer until the sauce becomes thicker and syrupy. Pour this sauce over the drained greens. Add the toasted sesame seeds, which will add crunch and a bit of extra protein. Toss well to coat the greens.