"Greens grow so easily in the Pacific Northwest because of our mild climate," says Jenn Louis, chef/owner of Ray, an Israeli-inspired restaurant in North Portland.
Louis' newly published "The Book of Greens: A Cook's Compendium," written with Kathleen Squires, shows how to break out of the "three-green rut" of salads and side dishes. In many non-Western cultures, "everybody forages." she says. "It's so seasonal. People incorporate all kinds of greens into different parts of their diet."
In her research, Louis identified three categories of greens by where you find them: grocery stores (romaine, kale, spinach), farmers' markets (mizuna, arugula, head lettuces) and "the oddball ones you grow in your garden." She suggests checking out stores like Lily Market and Fubonn Supermarket in Portland and Uwajimaya in Beaverton.
The book profiles 40 greens alphabetically and cross-references 175 recipes by category of dish, from soups and snacks to meat and seafood. Greens are listed by type (robust, tender, delicate, sturdy), specifying best cooking methods. A guide to the custom-designed salad bowl breaks down elements like texture, protein, saltiness, herbs and dressing.
It's Louis' comprehensive, well-organized answer to her friends' and customers' question: "I bought 'X,' what do I do with it?"
Dandelion Salad Sandwich
"I originally made this sandwich with kale, which is delicious, too. But I started to wonder what other greens would work as the centerpiece, not just as a garnish, of a sandwich. Dandelion greens shine because of their intensity, and when dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, they are mellowed out just enough and still have a satisfying amount of crunch. What especially appeals to me about this sandwich is the notion of making a salad completely portable." — Jenn Louis
Prep time: About 1 hour total (10 minutes to assemble) | Easy
- 2 slices seeded whole-grain bread
- 1/4 cup [60 g] butternut squash purée (recipe below)
- 1 medium-boiled egg (recipe below), cut into 8 slices
- Flaky sea salt
- 1 ounce [30 g] dandelion greens, thick stems discarded and leaves cut into 1/4-inch [6-mm] ribbons
- A few pieces of shallot or red onion, cut paper-thin with a knife or shaved on a mandoline
- Fresh lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Lay the bread slices on a work surface and spread one slice with a good slathering of butternut squash purée. Line up the slices of egg across the purée, then season the egg with the flaky salt. (This sandwich works just as well you if reverse the layers of egg and greens.)
- In a bowl, toss the greens and shallot with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and toss to coat evenly. Place the greens on top of the egg and close the sandwich with the remaining bread slice. Using a serrated knife, cut in half and enjoy immediately.
Other greens to try: head lettuces, kale
Alternatives to purée: hummus, Romesco sauce
"You could serve the sandwich open-face with a small cup of soup, like minestrone," says Louis, and "in summer a nice pilsner."
Butternut Squash Purée
Prep time: 10 minutes (excluding cooking) | Easy
Makes 2 cups [480 G]
- 9 tablespoons [135 ml] olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 fresh sage leaves
- 1 pound [455 g] peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Kosher salt
- Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and sage and cook until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Decrease the heat if the vegetables begin to darken. Add the squash and enough water just to cover the vegetables (about 3 cups/720 ml). Cook at a simmer until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, drain the vegetables and discard the cooking liquid or reserve it for another use (it is a great flavored vegetable broth at this point). Transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor, add the remaining 6 tablespoons [90 ml] olive oil and the cinnamon, and process until finely puréed. Season with salt.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Medium- and Hard-Boiled Eggs
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes total | Easy
- 6 eggs
- Place the eggs in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Set aside to temper for 15 minutes. Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
- Remove the eggs from the water. Over medium-high heat, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Gently add the eggs to the simmering water with a slotted spoon. Take care to keep the water at a lively simmer without becoming a boil and knocking the eggs around too much. For medium-boiled eggs, cook for 8-1⁄2 minutes; for hard-boiled, cook for 9-1⁄2 minutes. Immediately place the cooked eggs in the ice bath to cool completely, about 15 minutes. Remove from the water. Crack and peel to use.
Eggs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Republished with permission from “The Book of Greens” by Jenn Louis, copyright 2017. Photographs copyright by Ed Anderson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.