Healthy Greens – KY Creasy Greens – NY Utica Greens
Closely related to the family of Kale, Mustard, Collard, Spinach, and other greens, Creasy is a wild green that has long been one of our family’s favorite healthy dishes. According to many, Creasy not only adds free food to the dinner table but contains numerous health benefits one in particular which aids in removing harmful toxins from the body.
Growing alone streams, creek banks, and edges of fields the Creasy plant presents its self in early spring, mysteriously arriving with a partner know as the bitter variety. The two varieties are so similar in texture and color that only the most experienced picker can tell the difference. No one seems to care for the taste of the bitter variety of Creasy therefore, the plant remains in the fields to flourish and thrive on its own.
Not so in Utica, New York where restaurants and growers are famous for a bitter green known simply as Escarole. In times past New Yorkers, like Kentuckians, scrambled the wilds to find this bitter green and other greens to mix along with it to kill the bitter taste. Escarole greens are an Italian American specialty dish containing among other ingredients, prosciutto, pickled hot peppers, garlic, onions, and other ingredients.
Now that I have discovered Utica bitter greens, I am planning to try Creasy bitter greens mixed with other types of greens. With Creasy being out of season until springtime, I will have to substitute other greens in the following recipe. You can also turn this dish into a one-skillet meal by adding precooked chunks of smoked ham or bacon.
Kentucky Healthy Greens
- 14-16 ounces of your favorite greens (Or ½ Kale and ½ Spinach)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2/3 cup Romano or Mozzarella cheese, grated – Set aside 3 tablespoons of the cheese for topping.
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs – Set aside 2 heaping tablespoons of breadcrumbs for topping.
Make fresh breadcrumbs using 3-4 pieces of toast; spread a small amount of butter on the bread before toasting. Allow the toast to cool before grinding in a blender. I always make perfectly ground breadcrumbs using my Ninja to grind up broken pieces of toast lightening fast.
- 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, oregano, and black pepper in a zip bag; shake until all ingredients are well blended.
- Wash greens in a large bowl of warm salt water. (1 teaspoon of salt added to the water helps remove any possible dirt or contaminates from the greens). Place a large strainer in the sink and pour the contents of the bowl into the strainer and rinse greens well under running water. Allow to drain.
- Fill a large pot (6 qt or larger) ½ full with water, place on burner using high heat and bring to a boil.
- Drop the greens in boiling water and cook until tender. Stir occasionally using a long handle wooden spoon.
- Using the strainer in the sink, carefully pour the hot greens back into the strainer and rinse again using cool faucet water. Set aside until cool enough to touch. Using your hands squeeze remaining water out of the greens.
I prefer using my 10” copper pan for making this dish. The 10” is just the right size for this recipe and the copper pan can go from stove top to oven with no worries of damage to the pan or your food.
- Combine butter and olive oil in your copper pan using medium heat until butter melts. Add garlic and onion, and cook until tender or until onions are slightly transparent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add cooked greens and chicken stock to the pan and toss to combine.
- Add breadcrumb cheese mixture, toss well with the pan ingredients using a spaghetti server and long handle wooden spoon.
- Combine the reserved breadcrumbs and cheese you sat aside earlier and sprinkle evenly on top of the greens.
- Set oven to broil.
- Place casserole under broiler for 3 to 6 minutes or until topping is brown.
Avoid the crowd, the heavy lifting, packing your items from the car – get your food shipped right to your door.