Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Creamy spring greens

I'm back! I've been in Sicily in my blogging absence, stuffing my face with local specialities yet somehow losing 5 kilos in the process (probably because of all the hiking). I'll share some Sicilian foodie pics in another post but now, after days of of being waited on in trattorias, osterias and street cafés I'm back to cooking for myself.

The cold weather was a shock to my system on my return so I've already turned to warming winter dishes. Spring greens are one of my favourite vegetables - despite the name it's available most of the year and it's very versatile. This is one of my favourite ways to cook spring greens and happily takes centre space on the plate with a bit of protein on the side.

What you need: 
Spring greens - about 250g makes a generous portion for one
Half-fat crème fraiche - 2 heaped spoonfuls
Salt, pepper
Half a lemon

What to do: 
Wash the greens, shaking off the excess water in a colander, then slice them horizontally discarding the toughest part of the core. Melt a generous knob of butter in a heavy-based sauteuse or frying pan - as soon as it starts to froth add the greens and stir through until they are all coated. Season well with crushed sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper, then turn the heat down a touch and cook them for 10-15 minutes until they are tender.

Add the crème fraiche, stir it through and cook the greens for a few minutes longer. Finish with a spritz of the juice of half a lemon and plate up with the accompaniment of your choice.

Cook's tips:
If you can't find spring greens, some curly kale, a savoy cabbage or head of cavolo nero all make good substitutes. To slice a cabbage horizontally, first quarter it lengthways after washing, cut out the lower, thick section of core then shred across the leaves. For this dish aim for shreds that are about 1.5cm (1/2 inch) wide.

If you're not worried about your intake of saturated fats, single or double cream produce a more luxurious finish.

Cabbage and pork partner very well together - a pork chop, a couple of slices of black pudding or grilled belly pork, or some sausages all go well with this. If you don't eat meat, a couple of slices of grilled polenta are a good match.