Published January 1, 1995.
For best results with assertive greens such as mustards, collards, turnips, and kale, give them a rough chop and a quick plunge into shallow boiling water before quick-cooking.
Strong-flavored greens present more of a challenge than tender greens, which can be given a quick sauté without a second thought. They're not very agreeable when it comes to seasonings, either, seeming to clash with most that we tried.
Greens divide themselves quite naturally into two categories. In one camp are the tender greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens, which cook quickly over high heat and take to almost any spice or aromatic. Then there are the more assertively flavored greens like mustard greens, turnip greens, collards, and kale. We wanted to find the quickest cooking method for these greens that would give us the best results in terms of both flavor and texture.
What we found worked best was a shallow blanch. The more water you use when blanching porous vegetables, the more diluted the flavor of the vegetables becomes; we wanted to rid these greens of some of their bitterness, but not all of it. A shallow blanching removes enough bitterness to make these assertive greens palatable but not so much as to rob them of their character. Once assertive greens have been shallow-blanched, they can be cooked in five minutes following one of the recipes below. Once cooked, these greens can be tossed with pasta or stirred into beans for a quick and satisfying meal.list of recipes